Two More Electricity Generators Come Online in Iraq
By Mitch Frazier
Special to American Forces Press Service
BAGHDAD, Iraq, Sept. 11, 2004 Two electricity generators in suburban Baghdad that had fallen into disrepair under Saddam Hussein's regime returned to service today, producing enough electricity to fuel 72,000 Iraqi homes.
Iraqi and U.S. engineers brought a rehabilitated 17-megawatt
generator at the Taiji power station north of Baghdad online Sept. 11, boosting
electricity production in the country. A seven-megawatt generator in southern
Baghdad also came online Sept. 11, bringing the total available electricity in
Iraq to more than 5,000 megawatts - enough to service 15 million Iraqi homes.
Photo courtesy of U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
Iraqi and U.S. engineers brought the seven-megawatt generator in southern Baghdad and the 17-megawatt generator in north Baghdad online this morning.
"This is a very important step in overcoming the power shortage across the country," said Raad Shalal, a senior Iraq Ministry of Electricity official. "This will help us reach our goal of increasing power for Baghdad and the country."
Electricity production in the country averages about 5,000 megawatts, a total that services an estimated 15 million Iraqi homes and exceeds the pre-war level of 4,400 megawatts, officials said.
"We continue to work in partnership with the Ministry of Electricity and the Iraqi people to bring the country more electricity," said Maj. Erik Stor, the operations officer for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Restore Iraqi Electricity Directorate. "We know how important electricity is to the safety and security of the Iraqi people, and we continue to work on their behalf with the ministry to bring the country additional electricity."
Since regime change, much of the news in Baghdad has focused on the availability of less power in the Iraqi capital, a focus Stor said is misleading.
"It is important to remember that Baghdad was one of few cities across this nation that had electrical service prior to regime change," he said. "Within months of freeing the Iraqi people from the Saddam rule, power was redistributed to help build a fair and equitable national power system for Iraq and its future."
Despite the addition of power to the country's national grid, the demand for electricity in Iraq continues to grow, according to a fact sheet published by the Iraq Ministry of Electricity.
"With more than half a million new jobs created, new industries and new factories, Iraq has experienced a rapid increase in electricity demand," the fact sheet reads. "The increase in demand is a good sign of a thriving economy emerging from three decades of isolation."
Since beginning its work in the country nearly a year ago, the corps has added an additional 1,621 megawatts to the Iraqi national grid, enough to service 4.8 million Iraqi homes.
(Mitch Frazier is deputy public affairs director for U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Gulf Region Division.)