The Ministry of Electricity has signed $8 billion deals with the U.S. General Electric, Siemens and other Western engineering firms for the construction of power plants that will generate 11,000 megawatts, electricity minister said.
Kareem Waheed said the bulk of the money will go to General Electric, or GE, a multinational U.S. technology conglomerate.
He said GE will build plants with a capacity to produce 6,800 megawatts.
Siemens, Europe’s finest and largest engineering company, will build plants capable of producing 2,000 megawatts.
Waheed said the deals were complete as memorandums of understanding had been signed with each of the firms long time ago.
But he said the firms were reluctant to start working in Iraq due to high levels of violence.
As violence was receding, the firms have expressed a willingness to go ahead with their commitments, Waheed claimed.
“All in all we have deals which in completion will add 11,000 megawatts to the national grid,” he added
Acute power shortages and protracted blackouts that continue for nearly 20 hours a day in major Iraqi cities have been a characteristic of U.S.-administered and occupied Iraq.
Iraq currently produces 5,500 megawatts, which is still below the amount its rickety and sanctions-hit power plants used to generate under former leader Saddam Hussein.
Waheed put Iraq’s current power needs at 11,000 megawatts.
He gave no further details of the contracts.