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Who can solve Iraq’s electricity crisis? | Counting the Cost



This week, German conglomerate Siemens announced that it’s in discussions to help rebuild and boost Iraq’s power generation infrastructure.

Rebuilding efforts in Iraq have been slow and it’s estimated that $100bn is needed for reconstruction in the next 10 years.

Since the defeat of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS) last year there have been widespread protests about a breakdown in public services.

Earlier this month, the southern city of Basra experienced violent protests over poor public services and unemployment. Anger flared after the hospitalisation of 30,000 people who had drunk polluted water.

Residents in the oil-rich region are struggling with electricity shortages, corruption among officials and unemployment, as reported by Al Jazeera.

After May elections, Iraq is in the process of forming a government.

So, what are the challenges facing the new Iraqi government? Why can’t one of the world’s top oil producers keep the power on? Are Siemens power stations the solution to Iraq’s electricity crisis? And what will it take to rebuild Iraq’s power grid?

“The electricity crisis in Iraq is not an issue that can be resolved overnight,” says Shwan Zulal of Carduchi Consulting. “The power generation and demand are completely at odds with each other, especially at peak time … in the month of July there is almost 50 percent of shortages in electricity generation.”

Zulal explains that one of the main issues is “the fact that the business model for the electricity sector in Iraq doesn’t work … because it’s government-owned. There’s not enough investment coming into the sector. And second, the government doesn’t really collect enough from the consumers.”

While $40bn has been allocated to Iraq’s power sector over the past 15 years, “corruption is eating the country alive,” says Zulal. “Basra is a very good example … You have this monopoly from the private local small power generator – very polluting, very noisy in the neighbourhood, which charge extortionate amounts of money.”

He says the Siemens announcement to bring electricity for 300,000 Iraqis “is a very welcome news, but the problem is you can increase power generation but the demand will also increase because the consumer doesn’t take responsibility. If you’re not paying your bills, you wouldn’t be keeping tabs on how much electricity you use. So the more you increase generation, the consumption goes up, and given the Iraqi population is growing at a fast rate, this catch-up game never works.”

According to Zulal, the country’s high oil wealth potential interests investors “however, when investors go to Iraq and look at the regulatory environment and how sluggish the bureaucracy is, most investors at the end give up. There are good ideas and projects, such as solar [energy], which could resolve a lot of issues – especially in the south. There’s plenty of sun in Iraq and the peak demand is the summer months in the afternoon when the sun is blazing. So the sun can easily be converted to power air conditioning in Iraq.”

Also on this episode of Counting the Cost:

Colombia coffee: Coffee producers are calling on leading high street companies like Starbucks and Nestle to subsidise farmers who are struggling as prices hit 12-year lows. Speculators, overproduction and the power of multinationals are being blamed for the drop in farmers’ incomes. Alessandro Rampietti reports from Colombia’s coffee-growing region of Rovira where the situation for most farmers is desperate.

Jose Sette, from the International Coffee Organization, estimates the “total revenues from coffee all over the world per year are around more than $200bn a year. Of that, maybe $16bn – around 8 percent reaches the farmer. In addition, the industry does already invest in some sustainability initiatives, and that we estimate to be around $350m a year… the industry needs to up their game and invest a lot more in the sustainability of farmers, which are the base of their business.”

EU-Iran relations: US President Donald Trump’s second round of Iran sanctions targeting oil exports are due to kick in in November. But the EU is fighting back with a new measure to keep trade with Iran open, with a “special purpose vehicle.” It’s effectively a third-party institution that would handle transactions between Iran and companies trading with it, as Shihab Rattansi reports from Washington, DC.

More from Counting the Cost on:

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Website – http://aljazeera.com/countingthecost/

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40 comments

  1. IT'S THE GREEDY ELITES THAT BARELY PAY THE COFFEE FARMERS. DUH. TERRIBLE.

  2. WHAT WE HAS SUPPORT IRAQ WITH MONEY, HUH, HOW STUPID IS THE US .GOES RIGHT IN THE POCKETS OF THE CORRUPTED LEADERS. NEED THE WHITES AGAIN TO FIX IRAQ'S PROBLEM.

  3. SO IRAQ HAS NO ELETRICITY AND WATER, WELL WHY ARE THOSE IRAQI STAYED IN IRAQ TO DEVELOPE THEYRE OWN COUNTRY.PRAY MORE AND HARDER ,SO MAYBE ALLAH WILL HELP. LOL.

  4. Britain & America should solve Iraq's electricity crisis… the didn't have any WMD's remember.

  5. Well it wonโ€™t be the scumbag Americunts

  6. US results on the Iraqi War… They destroyed someone's home which is unfair to the Iraqi people who have to rebuild a country for the few decades

  7. It is crazy that US allies are trying to help our enemies bypass our sanctions?

    Who needs enemies when you got friends like the euros.

  8. NOT TO WORRY: INSTEAD OF COFFEE SAME FARMERS CAN EASILY GROW COCA TREE AND CALL IT A DAY! I'M "PREETTY SURE" 2 POUNDS OF COCA LEAVES COST MORE THEN $2 US DOLLARS!

  9. Take the 100 richest people in the country and shoot them in the head. Corruption would plummet.

  10. What are some solutions to this problem?

  11. Use Camels To Turn Turbines.

  12. Did you say oil? Wai- ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ

  13. SOLAR (only our most abundant power source)

  14. From America to the people of Iraq we cannot find the correct words in English to convey our sorrow and shame.

  15. If the fucken clowns would stop fighting for 10 seconds maybe they could rebuild it themselves.

  16. This go between entity that the EU is trying to set up for companies to circumnavigate us sanctions is not going to work. As soon as it starts up look for Trump to impose sanctions on that entity itself companies doing business with it as well as Iran won't be doing business in the US. These companies and countries that do not want to honor u.s. sanctions are promoting a US military solution so go around if you want just get Ready for more war in the region

  17. Trade all oil for solar and you win when the well runs dry my Desert dwelling Brothers.

  18. Iraq is a rich country.
    i wish iraqis shia sunnis kurds etc… could live side by side in peace.
    Peace and understanding bring prosperity and economic power , not oil and gas and petro dollars.
    I hope i am wrong, but i think USA and globalists are after balkanization of the middle east.
    The smaller the countries, the easier for imperialists to handle and control them.

  19. Wind and Solar should bring them their electricity, with all that oil already there, a regular plant upgraded with recycle scrubbers should prove more effective, as its a peoples resources, buy new wire, poles and man power to build better infra.
    The only issue I see are idiots wanting power.

  20. Siemens can definitely do the job. Politics is always a problem anywhere on the planet. Iraq's corruption and economy is not unique on the planet either. When Iraq decides that electricity is important then it will happen. The rest of the world must realize that Iraq is populated by prehumen folks that have not evolved yet, so it is not to unusual for these people to hold themselves back and not progress as fast as other parts of the world.

  21. Its the same in all 3rd world countrys. they get help from all over the world and the corrupted government takes it and spend it for themselves.

  22. Not enough willing workers from the native population?

  23. Tell them I said that's what they get. And itll be years before this problem is solved unless

  24. The same thing has played out in almost every sector of the agriculture world. Products are over supplied, prices drop, the local farmer quits and the Corporations roll in to take over and then like magic the price of the commodity increases and then stays at those higher levels. The "local" farmer around the world is nearing extinction.

  25. New World Order topple 7 countries in the middle east – Bush Sr. (1991) speech

  26. China is capable solve your miserable problem.

  27. All non white countries should give electricy and cars back to western and eu areas who invented these things till they learn how to treat whites better.

  28. Hey sami, your a coward and a liar. There is only one cure for this…remove the white man and his death machines. Next, remove ideological pigs like this, who think alike for status that will never exist.

  29. Venezuela and Iraq ,two oil rich shitholes where life is tough and nasty .

  30. ONLY CHINA CAN SOLVE IRAQ POWER PROBLEM

  31. They said Saddam Hussain was Irresponsible Iraq need change but unfortunately Iraq is still in a delicate situation.

  32. China will help Iraq. And China will make huge advancements in green renewable energy source like solar.

    And the United States will be left in the dark. Pun intended.

  33. WAR IN TURKEY AS THE LIRA COLLAPSES

  34. They should seek China help when it comes to developing for a better tomorrow

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