Iraq Electricity Self-Sufficiency a Far-Fetched Goal
EghtesadOnline: Iraq imports 7 gigawatts of electricity from Iran to make up for the shortfall between its output and actual need, an Iraqi power ministry official said.
Abbas Jabber, electricity ministry undersecretary, told a conference in Cairo that self-sufficiency would be a formidable challenge for the war-weary state because consumers pay a fraction of the production costs, ISNA reported.
Wars, sanctions, internal strife and IS terror have left Iraq, a major oil producer, with a chronic energy shortage and devastated its economy.
Jabber said domestic production capacity is 19.5 GW while the country needs 26.5 GW and the shortfall is filled by imports from Iran. The numbers do not include the semi-autonomous Kurdistan Region of Iraq, according to Financial Tribune.
“This is something we are forced to do, because we do not have sufficient generation capacity to meet domestic demand,” the senior official said, reiterating Iraq’s reliance on Iranian help.
Jabber said Iraqi consumers pay less than 10% of the power production costs, but despite the huge subsidies “Iraq has been adding capacity.”
Damage caused by the Islamic State terrorist group cut domestic capacity by about 4.5 GW, he was quoted as saying.
Iraqi officials including Electricity Minister Luay al-Khatteeb have said Baghdad needs at least three years to find an alternative source to replace Iranian gas and power.
Iraq relies heavily on Iranian energy for power supply to its dilapidated power infrastructure.
Riots broke out in the southern city of Basra and other cities last summer when Iran briefly cut its electricity exports due to technical problems.
Close to 7 gigawatts (roughly one-third of Iraqi consumption) comes directly/indirectly from Iran -- either in the form of direct electricity export or through natural gas supply that provide feedstock to the ageing power stations, Khatteeb said.
Iraq is the biggest importer of electricity from Iran.
It needs more than 23,000 MW to meet growing domestic demand. Years of war, civil strife, terror attacks and the US invasion in 2003 almost destroyed its power infrastructure creating a whopping 7,000 MW deficit.
Besides importing electricity from Iran, power plants in the neighboring Arab country depend heavily on Iranian l gas to generate power.