Iraqi Oil Minister Ihsan Abdul Jabbar announced that his country aims to increase the share of clean energy sources in domestic electricity production to 33% by 2030. He made this statement at the inaugural Saudi Green Initiative (SGI) Forum that was held at Riyadh in October.
The minister further revealed that domestic generation capacity based on solar energy will come to around 12GW by 2030 as well thanks to the projects that are already slated for execution and the projects that are being planned.
The cabinet of the Iraqi government has just approved a 10-year plan for developing solar energy. All the aforementioned projects are included in that blueprint. The main reason behind widening the adoption of solar energy is to address the ongoing power shortages across the country following years of conflict. Despite being a major oil producer, Iraq actually relies on fuel and electricity imported from neighboring Iran at the present time.
To meet the 2030 target, the Iraqi government is enlisting help from EPC firms and independent power producers. According to the latest reporting from various new agencies, French energy giant Total has signed a US$27 billion framework agreement with the Iraqi government to develop four major energy projects that include a 1GW solar park. The Iraqi government has also sealed an agreement with UAE-based Masdar to develop five solar projects that have a total generation capacity of 1GW. Negotiations for similar contracts with ACWA Power of Saudi Arabia, Power China, and other firms are also taking place. In the case of Power China, it will be building several solar parks across Iraq over multiple phases with the total generation capacity coming to 2GW. The first phase will see the installation of 750MW.
The Iraqi government is under enormous pressure to diversify its generation assets and improve its power infrastructure. Based on in-depth reports from various sources, Iraq has been one of the world’s worst performing countries in electricity delivery. Furthermore, climate change has led to record high temperatures in many parts of the country during the summer months, thereby exacerbating the existing power shortages. Solar energy appears to be a very optimal solution as local environmental conditions are highly suitable for operating PV systems. According to the recent statements from the Iraqi government, the immediate objective that will lead to the realization of the 2030 target is to set up 7.5GW of renewable generation capacity by 2023. Solar PV is thus going to be a core component of the official energy strategy.