By John Lee.
Iraq plans to invest up to $1.6 billion on renewable energy over the next three years, according to a report from Retuers.
The new solar and wind power stations will to add 400 megawatts to the national grid, helping to close the gap between the 8,800 MW produced and the 14,000 MW needed.
Laith al-Mamury, the head of the planning and studies department at the ministry of electricity, said invitations have been sent to about 25 leading companies to manufacture and install solar and wind power plants.
The companies include Japan's Toyota Tsusho Corp, Swiss engineering group ABB and Egypt's Orascom Construction.
The ministry has allocated an initial $200 million from the 2013 budget to add 50 MW to the grid next year, focusing on deserted and border areas.
Mamury said each megawatt of solar or wind energy will cost around $3.5-$4 million, but the initial outlay would be offset by lower running costs because the stations do not require fuel.
In the long term, the aim is for solar and wind energy to account for 2 percent of power generation.
Although Iraq has vast oil and gas reserves, Mamury said, "we should save oil for the coming generation not only sell it or burn it".