Friday, August 24, 2007
(RFE/RL) - Iraqi Minister of Electricity Karim Wahid Hasan told reporters that the ministry has released the first plan in 30 years to modernize Iraq's power grid. "This plan focuses on [how] to add 1,000-1,500 megawatts to the national grid," Hasan said, adding that the four-year program will cost an estimated $2.5 billion.
"In the next four years, the Ministry of Planning agreed to allocate $40 million a year and the additional grants will be allocated by the DARS [not further identified]. Also we are working to provide investments according to a certain principal which many countries now work on," Hasan said, noting that the ministry plans to boost the capacity of provincial power plants. Saying Iraq "needs approximately 9,500 megawatts," Hasan told reporters the country will reach 5,400 megawatts "in the next few months."
Commenting on how the security situation is affecting electricity supplies, he said: "I can confirm that the Ministry of Electricity work 24 hours a day but we have many problems especially the security problems. We cannot rehabilitate or repair the problems and we cannot ask our employees to work in certain parts of Iraq due to the insecurity. Thus, there is no technical problem in the Ministry of Electricity. There [are] only security problems."