Electricity provision is a critical issue for Iraq, one that Electricity Minister Luay al-Khatteeb rightly labels a “national security necessity” (MEES, 15 February). If Baghdad is unable to make progress it risks “serious civil unrest, threatening not only Iraq but the region” he says with little hyperbole (MEES, 22 February).

The government will therefore be breathing a sigh of relief that tangible progress is being made. When Mr Khatteeb spoke to MEES in February he said that annual electricity generation “growth of 15% is a bare minimum” to meet demand – 8% to bridge the current shortfall and 7% to meet demand growth. Iraq generated 12GW on average last year against demand of 22GW, while peak demand of 24GW far exceeded the 14.5GW it managed to generate over summer. (CONTINUED - 1339 WORDS)