Iraq plans to more than treble its electricity capacity by 2015 as the country embarks on a $20bn “grand plan” to become a major player in the Middle East energy sector.

Speaking at Power-Gen Middle East in Qatar this morning, Iraq’s minister of electricity, Karim Aftan El Jumaily, said the country’s existing power units were generating 6500 MW, up from the 2500 MW available in 2003 following the second Gulf War.

However, he stressed that the country expects capacity to hit 20000 MW by 2015, power that will be generated via gas, steam and diesel fired units.

The minister said he had ambitions for Iraq to facilitate electricity interconnection in the Middle East, linking particularly with Syria, Lebanon and Turkey.

Already there are more than 15 power plants being built in Iraq, with plans for another seven set to be finalized in the next couple of months. The government is also looking at a potential 10 renewable energy sites which would be powered by either wind or solar.

The minister said that developing Iraq’s energy sector was one of the linchpins of the country’s overall plans for economic growth: “To delay producing power will delay progress in oil, agriculture, education and real estate”.

He concluded his speech to delegates by telling them: “The doors are open. We hope to see you in Baghdad.”

POWER-GEN Middle East conference and exhibition is taking in Qatar from February 6-8 2012 and includes conference sessions on strategic issues facing the region’s power industry and the latest technology being employed. For more information please click here.

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