SOLAR ENERGY IN IRAQ FROM OUTSET TO OFFSET
Author: Harry H. Istepanian
Iraq’s electricity shortage badly hampers the country’s economy and threatens the already fragile political system, and this will grow worse unless immediate and effective measures are taken to tackle the issue. It is time for the oil companies to assist Iraq through development of renewable energy as new player to invest with relatively high returns as well as for the green image of their companies. Iraq needs a fast growing and sustainable economy to improve people’s general quality of life. Despite all promises for change, the country is still struggling with the most crucial obstacles, mainly mismanagement, corruption and lack of correct policies. The utilization of renewable energy sources needs adoption of right policies to encourage the involvement of the FDI in the future. The current electricity approach based on conventional thermal power plants with a meagre portion of hydroelectric needs to be augmented with diverse range of renewable energies such as solar and wind. Any renewable energy deployment in Iraq needs the government to reform the electricity sector and open the market for Public-Private Partnerships in electricity generation and distribution.
REOP is an appropriate plan that has the potential to give enough ability to both oil companies and the government to invest and promote renewable energy in Iraq. PPP has been successfully applied in many regions (both developed and developing countries), including the Middle East, and would let Iraq gradually reduce the electricity subsidies and invest in the reforming of the electricity sector. REOP could be the most appropriate type of PPP mechanism to accelerate the development of renewable energy sources. The ultimate objective of REOP is to have a framework to resuscitate the electricity sector according to recommendations of international institutions. Iraq needs to adopt integrated policies to promote other sources of energies other than oil and gas if wants to catch up with the rest of the countries in the region.
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