US technology firm Ventyx, part of the Swiss ABB group, has signed an agreement with Iraq’s Electricity Ministry to provide energy management systems and software for control centres in Iraq’s power network.

The energy management systems will monitor and improve power supplies in Iraq from major control centres in the cities of Baghdad, Kirkuk and Basra.

The agreement is part of the Electricity Ministry’s efforts to upgrade the regional control centres (RCCs) by replacing the existing software with energy management systems and data acquisition software. The upgraded RCCs will provide operators with a system-wide view of the grid, which will enable rapid detection and correction of faults.

The RCCs, in tandem with National Dispatch Centre (NDC), will form a key part of the monitoring, supervision and control of Iraq’s transmission grid.

The project is part of the Electricity Ministry’s efforts to improve the transmission and distribution of power throughout the country as it presses ahead with an ambitious programme to build new capacity after years of underinvestment and wars has led to an electricity supply and demand shortfall.

MEED reported in March that Iraq was negotiating agreements with developers for its first four independent power projects (IPPs), which will have a total capacity of almost 6,000MW when fully commissioned.

The Iraqi cabinet approved the granting of private investment opportunities for the four plants in the last week of February, and four companies are in negotiations with the Electricity Ministry to develop the plants. The ministry is also planning to develop an additional four, smaller IPP facilities at a later date.

Three of the initial IPPs are in advanced negotiations. These are the Qurna IPP and Rumaila IPP in the southern province of Basra, and the Basmaya IPP in Baghdad. The Yousifiya IPP is understood to have been approved, but discussions with the developer are at a less advanced stage.