Congratulations to blogger Arthur Chrenkoff for getting an article in the New York Times based on his “Good news from Iraq” posts. I thought it would be interesting to look at all the good news from Iraq on one topic so we can see how things have progressed over the year that Chrenkoff has been doing his series. I picked electricity generation because that is one of the most important parts of infrastructure, indeed many other things like water and sewage treatment depend on an adequate electricity supply.
For each month from May 2004, the table below gives an extract from Chrenkoff’s Good News from Iraq (GNfI) for that month related to electricity generation. Because GNfI does not always report electricity generation figures, the third and fourth columns shows official electricity generation and availability figures (obtained from the Brookings Institution’s Iraq index.).
One caution when reading the table: because it only contains good news, the real situation in Iraq is likely worse than presented here.
|Month||Good News||electricity generation||average hours of supply per day|
|May 2004||While the Army Corps of Engineers has been mostly restoring oil infrastructure, it is also “creating and improving ports, airports, roads, bridges, schools and health clinics. The corps has replaced more than 700 electrical towers throughout Iraq, Roberts said. The goal is to restore 6,000 megawatts to the national grid by June 1. About 4,500 megawatts are currently on the national grid.” GNFI01||3902 MW||11|
|Jun 2004||The authorities have earmarked $2 bln next year to rehabilitate the national electricity grid. The electricity delivery still leaves a lot to be desired, not least due to continuing sabotage. Lt. Gen. Faris Rasheed al-Bayati, who heads the Electricity Grid Protection force, GNFI03||4293 MW||10|
|Jul 2004||Regarding electricity, 64 percent [of Iraqis polled] agreed to a question that power supplies were worse than under the ousted leader Saddam Hussein. GNFI06||4584 MW||10|
|Aug 2004||Iraq and US engineers have reduced the shortage this month, adding 152 megawatts to the national grid to bring the national total to more than 5,200 megawatts – enough to service 15.6 million Iraqi homes. GNFI09||4707 MW||13|
|Sep 2004||U.S. engineers have helped place seven generators on line this month in Iraq, bringing the national electricity capacity to more than 5,300 megawatts – a level that exceeds the country’s pre-war capacity of 4,400 megawatts. GNFI10||4467 MW||13|
|Oct 2004||A new generator came on line here today bringing enough new electricity to the energy- thirsty country to fuel more than 275,000 Iraqi homes. The new 96 Megawatt generator is the second new generator to come on line at the north Baghdad plant since the reconstruction effort began at the site one year ago. The commissioning brings the total available electricity in the country to nearly 5,300 Megawatts, far exceeding the pre-war level of 4,400. GNFI13||4074 MW||13|
|Nov 2004||October has been a good month for electricity production in Iraq: two new generators outside Baghdad have added another 192 megawatts to the national grid, eight new mobile power stations at Bayji were turned over to the authorities, and an upgrade of conductors on a 41 kilometer transmission line between the Dibis and Old Kirkuk substations has again connected the Kurdish region and the rest of Iraq. The report concludes: “October’s production in the country has regularly exceeded 5,000 megawatts, compared to the pre-war level of 4,400. Since arriving last year, the Corps has strung 8,600 kilometers of transmission line, built over 1,200 towers and added over 1,800 megawatts to the grid.” GNFI14||3199 MW||13|
|Dec 2004||Substantial overhauls of the power grid have produced an increase of more than 10 percent in megawattage compared with the prewar figure. ‘Right now, we have between 11 and 15 hours per day of electricity in almost all areas of the country that are electrified, and by the end of 2005 our expectation is we will be at 18 to 20 hours,’ GNFI17||3380 MW||N/A|
|Jan 2005||Work is 82 percent complete at a power generation facility north of Baghdad. This project will increase electrical generation capacity by 325 megawatts through the addition of two combustion turbines to the existing substation site… USAID is expanding a thermal power plant in southern Baghdad with a 132 kV connection to the national grid. This project will add 216 MW of generation capacity… USAID’s project to increase generation at a major power plant in Babil Governorate is now 40 percent complete… Work is 79 percent complete in the restoration of heat exchangers at four generating stations in southern Iraq.” GNFI19||3289 MW||9|
|Feb 2005||USAID’s project to increase generation at a thermal major power plant in Babil Governorate is moving forward and is now 56 percent complete… To date, USAID’s rehabilitation efforts at the power plant have increased net capacity by 355 MW. When rehabilitation efforts are complete in May 2005, it is expected that the total increase in capacity will be approximately 500 MW GNFI21||3611 MW||8.5|
|Mar 2005||After the Iraqi grid deteriorated from 9000 MW in 1991 to 4300 MW in 2003, mostly due to lack of maintenance, the reconstruction authorities will be temporarily shutting down 10 power stations long overdue for a complete overhaul. After the re-opening, this will add another 1300 MW to the grid. GNFI23||3627 MW||11.8|
|Apr 2005||As March draws to a close, temperatures in Iraq are on the rise. Getting more electricity on the national grid is of foremost concern as the summer months draw near. An international team of engineers and technical professionals at the Bayji power plant has spent the past nine months working to get an additional 270 megawatts of power on the grid, which is enough energy to power more than 200,000 Iraqi homes and businesses. GNFI25||3390 MW||9|
|May 2005||Work continues on the rehabilitation of the Doura power plant in southern Baghdad. Upon completion, an additional 320 MW is projected to be available for Iraq’s national electrical grid. Although its four steam boilers and turbines are each rated at 160MW, all have been poorly maintained for many years, largely due to spare parts shortages. GNFI28||3560 MW||8.8|
So, to summarize the good electricity news: Due to lack of maintenance, electricity production fell from 9000 MW in 1991 to 4400 MW before the war. Since then, there have been many announcements of improved generating capacity and production has fallen further to 3560 MW.
Update: I added electricity hours per day to the table.