Iraq’s Ministry of Electricity is planning to spend $27bn on electricity projects by 2017 as it seeks to expand the country’s power capacity.

“From 2012 to 2017 we are planning to have invested $27bn on electricity schemes, which works out at $4.5bn a year,” said Alaa Disher Zamil, director general of and minister adviser for production affairs, Ministry of Electricity, speaking at MEED’s Iraq Energy Projects 2013 in Dubai on 25 March.

Zamil said that the planned investment was part of overarching plans to spend $75bn by 2030 on electricity projects. This will include $35bn on power generation schemes, $30bn on distribution projects and $10bn on transmission schemes.

The minister told the conference that the major expenditure was required due to “significant damage to power plants, substation and transmission lines due to 25 years of war and lack of investment in the power sector.”

Iraq is facing a severe shortage of power capacity in the short-term, with the country currently hosting a total capacity of 7,500MW and peak demand in the summer of 2013 expected to reach 16,000MW.

As part of plans to boost capacity, the government is planning to convert existing single-cycle power plants to combined cycle plants. The first stage involves converting 5 power plants with a total capacity of 2,333MW to combined cycle plants. The second phase will involve converting power plants with a total capacity of 3,560MW. Converting power plants to combined cycle plants can improve energy efficiency by up to 40 per cent.