The Iraqi government is planning a second 750 MW solar tender according to Raad Al Haris, an energy advisor to prime minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi. The advisor was speaking at the Energy Transition in the Arab World conference held in Berlin this week.
Al Haris did not provide dates for the tender but said the new procurement round – and the ongoing 750 MW solar tender launched in May – will both be finalized within two years.
The prime ministerial advisor said Iraq’s Ministry of Electricity recently pre-qualified 45 bidders in the current procurement exercise and added, requests for proposal are being issued. The authorities want to build two solar parks with generation capacities of 300 MW and 225 MW and five smaller projects ranging in size from 30 MW to 50 MW.
The Iraqi government said in May it expects the projects, which represent the country’s first attempt to diversify its energy mix, to become operational by the end of next year.
Iraq began taking its first steps into solar energy in January, when the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) started a search for consultants to help draw up a national PV policy. The UNDP was helping the Ministry of Electricity deploy utility scale solar plants and 5 MW of residential PV.
In 2017, Iraq’s installed, mainly fossil-fuel based power generation capacity stood at around 11.3 GW versus demand estimated at 17 GW. The International Renewable Energy Agency estimated only 37 MW were represented by solar power systems.