Iraq to Tender New Power Plants, Triple Output by 2013

Iraq plans to almost triple power generation capacity to 17,000 MW by 2013, mostly through building new plants, Masaab Serri, an Electricity Ministry spokesman, told Bloomberg.

Iraq plans to invite bids later this year for the construction of three power plants to boost output by 1,500 megawatts, he said on Tuesday.

One plant is to be built in the Najibiyeh region in the southern oil hub of Basra, and two others in Nasiriyah and Haidariya in the central region of Najaf.

Iraq, holder of the world’s fifth-largest oil reserves, is struggling to raise power supplies, which are currently at about 6,000 megawatts, or half of its domestic demand of about 12,000 MW, Serri said. Demand is expected to increase by at least 8% in 2012, he said.

Former Electricity Minister, Karim Wahid, quit in June amid violent street protests triggered by severe seasonal summer power shortages. Wahid said at the time that his efforts to overcome the problem had been thwarted by a lack of funding and fuel. Iraqis currently receive power from the national grid for an average of about one in every five hours.

Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki pledged after forming his new government last month to address the electricity problem which is causing social problems and hurting economic activity.

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