The US’ GE has been awarded contracts worth a total of $1bn to boost electricity capacity in Iraq.

Under the agreement with the Electricity Ministry, GE will provide equipment and maintenance for 10 power plants across Iraq, Musab al-Mudaris, spokesman for the ministry, was quoted in US-based newswire Reuters. According to sources in Iraq’s electricity sector, the capacity will be installed on a fast-track basis.

The total value of the contracts signed are worth more than $1bn, with financing already in place for the first stage of projects, which are worth $328.8m. The projects will add an additional 700MW capacity to the grid.

The Electricity Ministry will pay GE in instalments over a three-year period, beginning in 2017. Al-Mudaris was quoted as saying the reason for this was because the ministry’s budget for 2016 has been cut by more than half, to $1bn, for 2016.

The GE deal is part of the ministry’s efforts to close the supply-demand gap that has continued to leave residents and businesses without power for significant periods.

In August 2015, Iraq’s Electricity Minister Qassem al-Fahdawi said peak demand in the summer had reached 21,000MW, while peak output was only 13,400MW.