SULAIMANI (ESTA) — Iraq and the United Arab Emirates’ Masdar signed a one thousand megawatt contract on Wednesday to build five solar power plants in Iraq, the Iraqi state news agency (INA) reported.
The United Arab Emirates’ energy minister Suhail al-Mazrouei arrived in Baghdad earlier on Wednesday, met his Iraqi counterpart and discussed bilateral cooperation.
The Iraqi energy minister said in a joint conference with Mazrouei that “Iraq hopes for a second stage of the project to be implemented soon with a capacity of another one thousand megawatts”.
Iraq is under increasing pressure from the United States to wean itself off electricity and gas imports from Iran, which has been subject to U.S. sanctions since 2018.
The country bought gas and electricity from neighboring Iran to supply about a third of its power sector, which has been worn down by years of conflict and poor maintenance, and is unable to meet the needs of the country’s 40 million population.
On August 10, Iran said it had suspended electricity exports to Iraq due to a surge in domestic demand.
The suspension of electricity exports to Iraq comes as the country is already suffering from power outage due to a surge in demands and attacks on pylons in several provinces.
In August, Iraq signed a initial agreement with state-owned POWERCHINA to build solar power plants with a capacity of 2,000 megawatts.