Electricity sector in Iraq

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Electricity sector of Iraq
Installed capacity (2011)9 GW
Share of fossil energy81%
Share of renewable energy19%
Average electricity use (2003)700 kWh per capita
Consumption by sector
(% of total)
Residential48 (2002)
Industrial29 (2002)
Iraq electricity supply by source

As of June 2013, the total capacity of the electricity sector in Iraq is about 10,000 megawatt (MW).[1] In 2006, the average peak electricity supply was 4,280 MW falling short of demand averaged 8,180 MW by about 3,950 MW.[citation needed] According to the United States Department of Energy officials, demand for electricity has been stimulated by a growing economy and a surge in consumer purchases of appliances and electronics. In addition, electricity is subsidized in Iraq, which leads to increased demand.[2]


Electricity entered Iraq for the first time in 1917 where the first electric machine was installed in "Khan Dala" building.[3]

Prior to the Gulf War, the total installed generating capacity was 5,100 MW, which fell to about 2,300 MW after the Gulf War. Approximately 87% of the population had access to electricity.[4] A combination of wars, sanctions, looting and vandalism has however, severely affected the entire power system infrastructure in Iraq.

During the 1991 Gulf War the electricity system suffered severe damage. Several transmission lines were put out of service, electrical substations were damaged. While some of the damage of the 1991 war was repaired and about 4,500 MW of generating capacity was available in 1999 when Iraq reorganized its electricity sector. The sector was separated from the Ministry of Industry, and the Commission of Electricity (CoE) was established on June 21, 1999. About 4,500 MW of generating capacity became available by the end of 2002, power supply remained insufficient and unreliable. Programmed load shedding and unplanned power outages were frequent.[5]

Post 2003 war[edit]

Although the power system was not significantly affected by the last conflict, capacity was reduced to approximately 3,300 MW by a combination of further breakdowns, lack of spares and interruption of major maintenance cycles. The balance between generation versus demand as reported on 18/July/2004 by the Coalition Project Contracting Office (PCO) (Agency responsible for Coalition projects following the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA), which completed its mandate as of 30/June/2004) is as follows:

  • Daily Electricity Demand: 6,400 MW
  • Daily Average Output: 4,470 MW
  • Summer peak demand 6,800–7,500 MW, 35 to 40% of the summer peak demand cannot be satisfied at present.

Lack of electricity tends to affect more severely the most vulnerable groups of Iraq's society and increases their morbidity and mortality. Ongoing efforts need to be maintained and new actions to increase electricity supply need to be initiated. In addition, significant delays have been occurring in the reconstruction work that is underway and more security related bottlenecks are expected. Baghdad, a city of 6 million (representing 1/3 of Iraq's population) is still subjected to programmed load shedding on a rolling basis (roughly 3 hrs on 3 hrs off). This is often exacerbated by unforeseen events. For example, on 2 June and 26 July 2004, segments of Baghdad were left without power for 16 and 21 hours, respectively. These events took place in weather that is exceedingly hot. In a country with 39.7% of its population under 15 years, these events do not go unnoticed and the need to add generating capacity to the grid is most pressing.[5]

Prewar Baghdad had electricity 16 to 24 hours per day and was favored for distribution. The remainder of Iraq received 4–8 hours of electricity per day.[6] Post war, Baghdad no longer has priority and therefore both Baghdad and the country as a whole received on average 15.5 hours of electricity per day as of February 2010.[7]


Year Annual consumption per person Installed capacity (MW) Demand Peak demand
1955 50
1990 1,700 kWh 5100
2003 900 kWh 3300
2003 June 700 kWh 4470 6400 7500
2006 4280 8180
2008 6000 10000
2010 8000[8] 14000[8]
2016 13000[9] 21000[9]


The 1990 installed capacity of 9,295 MW consisted of 120 power-generating units in various thermal, gas turbine and hydroelectric power stations. Approximately 70% of Iraq's installed power generating capacity was damaged or destroyed during the 1991 Gulf War. All major power stations were damaged and nearly 80% of the gas turbines units were affected. After 1991, only about 50 units were available, with a generation capacity of 2,325 MW. The construction work on three new large thermal power stations at Yousifiya, Al-Shemal and Al-Anbar were stopped, because of the ensuing sanctions.[10]

Station type No. Name Plate Rating (MW) Actual Rating (MW)
Thermal 8 5,415 1,600
Gas Turbines 14 2,181 650
Hydro 7 2,518 650
Diesel Plant 3 87 87
Total 32 10,206 3,137

Thermal power stations[edit]

The majority of the power plants in Iraq were built between the mid-1970s and 1980s, with a few small gas-fired plants commissioned in 2003. The majority of the existing power plants are thermal plants that use crude oil supported by gas-fired and hydro plants. [11]

  • Al Dora
  • Al Taji
  • Musayab Thermal Power Station Musayab TPS (4 x 300 MW units) was commissioned in 1987 with major portions of the plant equipment supplied by Hitachi, Japan.
  • Yousfiyya power station 660 MW
  • Diwaniyya power station 250 MW
  • Rumaila power station 500 MW
  • Samawa power station 60 MW, $100-million built by Japan

Gas power stations[edit]

  • Al Quds power station located in Rashidiyah area, northeast Baghdad with 10 units of capacity 800 MW when fully operational.[12]

Hydro-power stations[edit]


More import from the electricity sector in Turkey is planned for the 2020s.[15]

Local diesel generators[edit]

These are either small generators for a capacity of a house or large enough to supply a block of houses within the neighborhood supplying power for monthly fees, 14.2 US cent/kWHr. [16]

Iraq rebuilding projects[edit]

As of June 2014 Iraq spent about US$27 billion between 2003 and 2012 to rehabilitate the power sector after decades of war and sanctions, but widespread corruption in the country has hindered development efforts and power outages continue.[17] In 2005 the World Bank estimated that US$12 billion would be needed for near-term restoration, and the Ministry of Electricity estimated that US$35 billion would be necessary to rebuild the system fully.[18]

  • General Electric PPHM contract of US$3 Billion. Under the agreement, GE Energy will provide multi-fuel gas turbines capable of supplying 7,000 MW of electricity.[19]
  • Emergency Rehabilitation of Musayyib Power Station – Stage II, location Nationwide, Project cost US$33 million. Duration 24 months, Starting Date June 2005, Completion Date June 2009.[20]
  • Al Hartha power station, Basrah, a project will double the output of the Hartha station from 400 MW to 800 MW, the total cost of the project is estimated at US$150 million which is funded by World Bank.[21]
  • Dora power station; rehabilitation Unit 5 & 6 (steam turbine, 160 MW each) $90.8 million JO-03-037-08 by Bechtel, personnel assistance and training for MoE $80 million JO-04-503-03.[22]
  • Dukan and Darbandikhan emergency Hydro Power Project with cost US$37.5 million.[23]
  • In October 2010 it was announced that a Turkey energy company, Calik Enerji, has signed a contract, worth of US$445 million, with the Iraqi government to build a power generating station in Al Khairat, Karbala city in central Iraq.The generating capacity of the station amounts to 1,250 MW.[24][25][26]
  • In October 2010 Enka Insaat won a US$267.5 million deal to build a power plant and install six turbines in Ninawa Governorate in northern Iraq.[25]
  • In October 2010 MoE announced that Eastern Lights will install four turbines in an existing plant in Baghdad under a contract worth US$204.8 million.[25]
  • Iranian company Tavanir has built Al Sadr Power Plant and is currently expanding it to 640 MW. Iran also plans to build 2000 MW of installed capacity in Iraq and increase its export to Iraq to 1250 MW by summer 2012.[27][28][29][30]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Iraq's electricity capacity reaches 10,000 MW". IFP Group. June 20, 2013.
  2. ^ Rebuilding Iraq (PDF) (Report). United States Government Accountability Office. May 2007. p. 34.
  3. ^ "History of Electricity". Iraqi Ministry of Electricity. p. 14. Archived from the original on April 2, 2009.
  4. ^ Rebuilding Iraq & May 2007, p. 15.
  5. ^ a b Rehabilitation of Unit 1 of Al Musayab TPS- Stage 1 (PDF) (Report). United Nations Development Group Iraq Trust Fund. pp. 6, 7. Archived from the original (PDF) on July 28, 2011. Retrieved December 31, 2008. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  6. ^ Carey, Glen C. (July 28, 2003). "Anger simmers in Baghdad over lack of electricity, crime". USA Today.
  7. ^ O'Hanlon, Michael E.; Livingston, Ian (January 31, 2011). Iraq Index (PDF) (Report). Brookings Institution.
  8. ^ a b Yee, April (December 20, 2010). "Iraq to build four power plants". The National (Abu Dhabi).
  9. ^ a b "Iraq agrees $328 million GE deal to boost electricity grid". Reuters. Jan 25, 2016.
  10. ^ Gautier, Michel (October 2003). Joint Iraq Needs assessment: Electricity (PDF) (Report). United Nations / World Bank.
  11. ^ Farage, Taymor (June 1, 2008). "Progress Amid Chaos". Transmission & Distribution World.
  12. ^ "Power station opens in Baghdad". Iraq Directory. January 3, 2009. Archived from the original on January 11, 2009.
  13. ^ "US sanctions hit Iraq power imports from Iran". Trade Arabia. January 5, 2011.
  14. ^ Al Khalisi, Isam (August 14, 2006). "The Real Cost To Iraq Of Imported Electricity". Middle East Economic Survey. XLIX (33). Archived from the original on November 24, 2007.
  15. ^ "Iraq to import electricity from Turkey to tackle deficit". Middle East Monitor. 2020-08-07.
  16. ^ smrjaff (January 9, 2009). "Diesel generator power cost in Iraq". Iraq-Engineers. Retrieved January 10, 2009. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  17. ^ Ibrahim, Haider (February 27, 2014). "Iraq to allocate USD4.7bn for electricity sector in 2014". Zawya.
  18. ^ "COUNTRY PROFILE: IRAQ" (PDF). Library of Congress. August 2006. p. 11. Archived from the original (PDF) on December 4, 2010. Retrieved February 4, 2011. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  19. ^ Rulison, Larry (December 16, 2008). "GE Energy signs $3 billion contract with Iraq". Times Union (Albany).
  20. ^ Project #: E4-15: Emergency Rehabilitation of Mussayib Power Station – Stage II (PDF) (Report). United Nations Development Group Iraq Trust Fund. September 2008.
  21. ^ "World Bank to loan Iraq power plant $124 million". Iraq Directory. March 30, 2007.
  22. ^ Wilson, Lloyd; Rawal, Yogin (July 18, 2007). Dora Power Station Unit 5 and 6: Sustainment Assessment (PDF) (Report). Office of the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction (SIGIR). Archived from the original (PDF) on October 13, 2013. Retrieved January 28, 2011. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  23. ^ Dokan and Derbandikhan Emergency Hydro Power Project (PDF) (Report). Ministry of Industry and Electricity of Kurdistan Regional Government, Iraq. March 27, 2006. p. 8. Retrieved January 10, 2009. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  24. ^ "Turkish company to build power plant in C. Iraq". Kuwait News Agency. January 13, 2011.
  25. ^ a b c "Iraq awards power turbine work to 3 Turkish firms". Reuters. October 10, 2010.
  26. ^ "Iraq MOE - Al Khairat Power Plan". Projects Monitor. Zawya. January 29, 2011. Archived from the original on October 17, 2012.
  27. ^ "Iran to raise electricity exports to Iraq: Minister". Payvand. Mehr News Agency. July 26, 2011.
  28. ^ "Iran to Increase Electricity Exports to Iraq". Iraq-Business News. AKNews. July 27, 2011.
  29. ^ http://www.sunir-co.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=204&Itemid=23[permanent dead link]
  30. ^ http://www.bedigest.com/NEWS/57330.aspx