Bolstered by several solar projects in the pipeline, Iraq is anticipating a gradual switch to solar and other renewable energy sources as part of a strategy intended to ease pressure on its hydrocarbon resources. This was disclosed by Mudher Saleh, the adviser to Iraq’s Prime Minister Mohammed Al-Sudani.
As per the local reports, Mudher Saleh said that OPEC’s second-largest oil producer expects a sharp increase in the share of renewable energy sources in its energy mix in the next few years following the award of several solar power projects to foreign companies.
Saleh said Iraq is encouraged by the fact that solar power projects are among the most feasible in the world as it enjoys long sunny hours in the day. He said, “The government has approved plans to switch to solar power in all its offices and establishments and to encourage the private sector in this field. He added that the Iraqi Central Bank has recently launched an initiative to support citizens seeking to switch to renewable energy in domestic use.”
It may be noted that last year, to encourage renewable energy, Iraq’s Central Bank in 2022 announced the allocation of $750mln in almost zero-interest loans for individuals and private companies adopting solar power.
Earlier in August 2023, Iraq’s Basra Oil Company announced that France’s TotalEnergies had activated its four investment contracts involving oil, gas, renewable energy, and seawater desalination projects.
The Ministry of Oil and TotalEnergies had then entered into contractual commitments to implement the projects, Basra Oil Company’s Director General, Bassim Abdul Karim Al-Shamkhani, had told the media then.
It may be noted that the $27 billion deal was signed in 2021 between the Iraqi government and the firm to build four oil, gas, and renewable energy projects with an initial investment of $10 billion in southern Iraq over 25 years, but due to conflict over the size of Baghdad’s stake in the deal, it could not be materialized.