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US shows support towards Iraq's power link with GCC [free access]

July 20, 2020

The United States of America (USA), Iraq, and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) have asserted their support towards a transmission project that will help in the supply of electricity from the six members [Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar, Oman and the United Arab Emirates (UAE)] of the GCC to Iraq. Currently, Iraq’s estimated demand for electricity is 24 GW, while its electricity production falls 9 GW short of that.


The US is taking keen interest in the development of the project, as in future it will reduce Iraq’s dependence on neighboring Iran for electricity. The US has been repeatedly granting Iraq waivers for its import of electricity from Iran, with the last such waiver announced in May 2020 for a period of 120 days.


The project includes a grid link between Iraq and Kuwait, which will involve the construction of a substation, around 300-km-long 400 kV line, and other associated facilities. For the same, in September 2019, Iraq signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the GCC Interconnection Authority (GCCIA) for importing 500 MW of electricity, due its persistent power outages since the wars began.


The power link is valued at USD220 million, and will be funded by the GCCIA. The contract for the same was signed between GCCIA and Iraq in January 2020.