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Bayji Power Plant Breathes Life into Iraq

American Forces Press Service

BAYJI, Iraq, Oct. 16, 2004 – As part of its efforts to bolster security and the economy in northern Iraq, the 1st Infantry Division joined with civilian companies and the Army Corp of Engineers to repair the Bayji Power Plant complex here.

The facility, composed of three power plants, once generated 1,300 megawatts of power. But after Operation Desert Storm in 1991, Iraqi officials were unable to get parts to maintain the plants because of sanctions levied against the country, officials said.

The three plants were generating a little less than 400 megawatts of power prior the start of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Since then, Multinational Force Iraq has worked diligently to repair the complex, which was one of the major power sources in the nation. In August, it was generating about 800 megawatts of power.

The plant employs 2,000 local civilians, 1,200 of whom are permanent. The 1st Infantry Division spent more than $1 million on parts for the plant.

Aside from repairs to the 500-acre complex, security was a major issue, officials said. Its fence had gaping holes that served as a gateway for looters, who frequently stole equipment and supplies. To remedy that problem, the 1st Infantry Division spent $450,000 to build a 12-foot wall around the entire complex. That project created more than 700 jobs for local Iraqis, as six different contractors worked on the wall simultaneously.

The division also implemented an identification card system for all employees, and there are now plans to build guard towers and fire equipment, officials said.

The 1st Infantry Division also built a health center for workers on the complex, and it plans to refurbish the local sewage system. Both projects will cost a combined $360,000. The plant is expected to be fully operational by the end of 2005.

(Courtesy of Multinational Force Iraq.)

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Related Sites:
Multinational Force Iraq
1st Infantry Division
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

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