Iraq buys 250 MW/day from UAE to boost power supply


Iraq has signed a contract to buy 250 megawatts of electricity per day from United Arab Emirates’ Oilfield Services Co., the electricity ministry said on Sunday, to help reduce power shortages as it heads into the heat of the summer months.

In the nine years since the U.S.-led invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein, successive Iraqi governments have failed to address chronic power disruptions in a country where temperatures can top 50 degrees Celsius in the summer.

Electricity shortages are a major complaint among Iraqis, many of whom face power cuts for up to 20 hours a day during periods of peak demand.

Frustrations mount in summer and often spark street protests.

The ministry said the two-year contract was based on a price of 7.5 cents per kilowatt hour and included two power plants, which will be docked on ships and connected to the national grid.

The ships are expected to reach the port in Iraq’s oil-rich southern city of Basra within a few weeks, and the plants will be connected to the grid by July 31, the ministry said.

There are already three Turkish ships docked at the port in Basra, which supply 270 MW per day to the national grid.

Iraqi demand for electricity peaked at 15,000 MW last year, but the oil-producing nation managed to provide less than half of that.

Its national grid has supplied only a few hours of power a day since its supplies collapsed following the invasion, when power plants were looted or went without maintenance.

Iraq plans to boost the national grid's capacity by about 1,500 MW in the next few months, Salam Qazaz, a deputy electricity minister said in February.