German engineer Siemens has signed a memorandum of understanding with the government of Iraq to renew the country’s electricity generation and distribution systems.
We will assist and support the Iraqi government to develop a sustainable and modern electricity system to ensure the country’s economic and social development– Siegfried Russwurm, Siemens
The deal was signed at the end of March in Baghdad by Qassim al-Fahdawi, the minister of electricity, and Siegfried Russwurm, a member of Siemens’ board.
Under the terms of the agreement, Siemens will develop an "enhanced energy concept" for the "development and optimisation" of the country’ electricity infrastructure.
"With this important agreement we intensify the long-lasting partnership between Siemens and Iraq," said Russwurm. "We will assist and support the Iraqi government to develop a sustainable and modern electricity system to ensure the country’s economic and social development."
The collapse of Iraq’s electricity system followed the 2003 Gulf War and subsequent Coalition attempts to restore generating capacity became one of the key measures of Iraq’s recovery. At that time the country’s capacity fell to about 4GW.
Since then, it is estimated that more than $40bn has been invested in the system, however a recent report in the Guardian newspaper found that many areas still have no more than a few hours of power a day.
Iraq energy ministry statistics show that maximum capacity in 2013 was 12GW, but that maximum demand was 17GW.
The ministry also signed a $1bn "power up" plan with US engineer GE in January this year. This was described as "a set of technological solutions and upgrade projects to ensure essential incremental power, adding 700MW to the national grid in time for the summer period".
Siemens’ press release said the parties also intended to explore further cooperation in the power generation sector as well as in the field of oil and gas.
Photograph: With its power distribution system in shambles, Iraq has relied on diesel generators (Iraq Energy Institute)