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Cablegate: Iraq Generates 5000 Mw of Electricity - Itao Project

VZCZCXYZ0083
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHGB #2051 1731011
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 221011Z JUN 07
FM AMEMBASSY BAGHDAD
TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 1820

UNCLAS BAGHDAD 002051

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: N/A
TAGS: EAID PREL SOCI IQ
SUBJECT: Iraq Generates 5000 MW of Electricity - ITAO Project
Update

1. SUMMARY. On June 7, 2007 electricity peak production in Iraq
achieved a milestone of 5000 MW and on the next day production
reached 5208 MW. After a short downturn, over 5000 MW was again
attained on June 13th and 14th. These are the highest production
levels since August of 2006 and represent a sustained climb from the
low point below 4000 MW in January 2007. This achievement
highlights the collaborative work of the GOI and USG on
infrastructure in Iraq. END SUMMARY.

2. The deficiency in the Iraq electric power system is that
production is rising, but is chasing after rapidly increasing
demand. Many years of economic sanctions and isolation from Western
technology contributed to severe deterioration of the power utility
infrastructure. Ongoing challenges include major breakdowns,
interdictions of transmission lines and lack of fuel. U.S. and
coalition partners are directly adding over 2000 MW to the Iraqi
system. 85% of the new capacity will be on line by the end of 2007.
More importantly, the reconstruction efforts have emphasized to the
Ministry of Electricity the importance of long term operating and
maintenance principles.

3. Coalition Forces have focused on providing adequate security to
achieve quick repairs to transmission lines while USG and GOI
personnel expedite the repairs. Increased generation and reliable
distribution are part of a strategy to get more power into the
Baghdad ring in order to provide essential services to citizens and
businesses. At the same time, the provinces are receiving more power
through the national grid than they ever did during Saddam's time,
when the sole priority was power for Baghdad. Our current objective
is to spur economic activity and enhance the quality of life for
Iraqis, particularly as the surge becomes more successful in
reducing and eliminating violence.

4. The Minister of Electricity, Dr. Karim, specifically has been
pressing his organization to put as much generation on line as
possible for the summer months. Dr. Karim meets several times a
week with ITAO and GRD project managers to monitor the highest
priority projects. 5000 MW is only a stepping stone towards his
goal to routinely produce 6000 MW in time for the peak season
occurring in late July through early September. We believe this
goal is achievable.

Comment
-------

5. It is worth noting that the 5000 MW level has been met, but it
may well fall back below that level in the short term. Fuel supply
problems and insurgent attacks can take power off-line at any time.
However, the essential fact is that more power is being produced in
Iraq than it was during Saddam's time and the trend is upward:
increased power will become available over the next year and beyond.
The challenge will be to meet the rapidly increasing demand for
power from consumers and new economic activity. We will focus on
assisting the Ministry of Electricity with its planning, its
operations management, and its budget execution to equip it to meet
the challenge.


Crocker

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