Analysis: Iraq’s electricity plans

Iraq’s electricity plans can address the country’s chronic power problems, says Iraq legal expert David Lockhart – but only if government officials can work together to implement them.
Baghdad's Al-Quds power plant is undergoing a $219 million expansion. (THAIER AL-SUDANI/Reuters)

Iraq’s Ministry of Electricity is courting foreign investment in continued and frustrating attempts to develop the country’s ability to produce and deliver power. A 15-month-long study of Iraq’s electricity infrastructure and its future requirements was recently completed, and the resulting “master plan” for Iraq’s electricity sector was presented in Istanbul in early February.

The master plan represents the largest projected expansion of electricity generation and transmission infrastructure ever planned for a post-conflict nation. The forecast capital expenditure requirement over the next 20 years is $77 billion, or around $4 billion per year. As Adel Mahdi of the Ministry of Electricity put it, the objective is to “tighten the gap between production and demand” – a goal the master plan aims to achieve by 2013.

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