OPEC member Iraq is planning to add nearly 7,500 megawatts (MW) to its power generation capacity in new solar energy projects to be built by Total of France and a UAE company, the official Iraq daily Alsabah reported on Thursday. 

The Electricity Ministry is currently holding talks with relevant authorities for the allocation of land in various parts of Iraq to set up those projects, the paper said, quoting the Ministry’s spokesman Ahmed Al-Abadi. 

“We have plans to add nearly 7,500 MW to the country’s power capacity through the execution of solar projects in various parts of Iraq,” Abadi said. 

He told the paper that the Ministry had made “considerable” progress in the negotiations with France’s Total Company for the construction of a solar power plant in the Southern port of Basra with a capacity of 1,000 MW. 

Abadi also said there were talks with a UAE company to build two solar power plants in the Western Alanbar governorate and Samawah Southeast of Baghdad, adding that more solar projects are planned in other governorates. 

Abadi did not name the UAE firm but Alsabah noted that the Electricity Ministry had signed an initial contract with the government-owned Masdar Company of Abu Dhabi to set up solar projects with a capacity of 2,000 MW. 

Iraq has been locked in a massive post-war rebuilding programme that includes rehabilitation of its power sector to slash electricity imports, mainly from nearby Iran. 

On Wednesday, the Electricity Ministry signed an initial agreement with the state-owned Power China to build solar power plants with a capacity of 2,000 MW. 

(Writing by Nadim Kawach; Editing by Anoop Menon)
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