The Government of Iraq, backed by Coalition forces, has come a long way since 2007 in providing the citizens of northwest Baghdad the power they need to run home appliances and businesses.
Many government projects, to include power plants, solar panels and micro generation have been completed and more will be set in place to meet the needs of the peopleâ€™s growing demand for power, said Mahdi Jonny, bilingual, bicultural electrical engineer, joint project management office, 2nd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, Multi-National Division â€“ Baghdad.
â€œIraq has scattered electrical generation plants comprised of thermal, hydro, gas turbine and diesel,â€ said Jonny. â€œThere are also imports from three different countries: Iran, Turkey and Syria.â€
The imported energy from the three countries provides eight thousand megawatts on a daily basis, an increase of nearly six megawatts daily from last year.
Jonny said, compared to last year, citizens of northwest Baghdad are getting a better supply of power, but still donâ€™t have the grid power to run equipment to run 24-hour operations.
â€œIf you really look at the weekly Iraq energy analysis overview that is generated by the Iraqi Energy Fusion Cell of the International Zone, they show that there are certain key events and engagements that have happened between the Coalition forces and the Ministry of Electricity,â€ said Jonny. â€œWhat this means is we have increased the flow of oil by 150 thousand barrels a day.â€
Jonny added that the plants will receive most of the oil so they can continue running at 100 percent.
â€œThat being said, there are also a lot of areas already initiated, such as the construction of more power plants and this is ultimately translated into an increased power supply.â€
Other plans for more power are under way for the near future, including a power plant project in Hurriyah, a neighborhood in the Kadhamiyah district of northwest Baghdad.
â€œThere is a major power plant under construction in Hurriyah that is probably going to come on line within the next 12 months, and this will add a substantial amount of power to the grid,â€ said Col. Gerald Gibbons, Embedded Provincial Reconstruction Team representative, 2nd HBCT, 1st Inf. Div. â€œThe demand has gone up substantially and the supply has not gone up at the same rate. The demand has exceeded the supply, and the supply has to catch up by generation of more power.â€
Gibbons explained how the process of energy circulation works in Iraq.
â€œIn the three major components to the power circulation, (which are) generation, transmission and distribution, the government of Iraq is doing a good job of transmitting and distributing power among the population,â€ he said. â€œThe bottom line is the generation has not kept up with the demand; they simply need to generate more power.â€
Another way the Iraqi Government, local leaders and Coalition forces have alleviated the gridâ€™s electricity has been through micro generation, or the disbursement of fuel-powered generators throughout Baghdad.
â€œWhat we have done is provide power with micro generators, and with them, they get fuel enough to run eight hours a day,â€ said Gibbons. â€œIf companies or people have unlimited funds, they can buy their own generator and fuel and a fair amount of them do just that.â€
Gibbons also said these projects have greatly improved the quality of life for the citizens and they will allow them to keep their businesses open and their household appliances turned on.
Although the people of northwest Baghdad are happier because they are receiving power for longer hours, Jonny said the ultimate goal is to supply power to the population 24 hours per day.
â€œItâ€™s a matter of time until this happens; many companies have been contracted, and Iâ€™m sure the Ministry of Electricity and the Fusion Cell are in continuous engagement to close in on the supply and demand difference within the next two years,â€ said Johnny. â€œWithin five years, I think the electricity situation will be very different.â€