The Electricity Ministry of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) has extended the deadline for expressions of interest from developers for a series of independent power projects (IPPs) to be built across the autonomous region.

Companies now have until 1 October to respond. According to an official at the Electricity Ministry, more than 30 companies submitted expressions of interest ahead of the original 15 September deadline.

Developers will then be invited to submit bids to build a project using natural gas or heavy fuel oil (HFO) as fuel or hydropower.

International developers are eligible to participate in the tender, as well as local companies. The winning bidders will design, supply, construct, commission, operate and maintain the IPPs.

The IPPs will add 6,000MW power capacity in total. The programme is likely to be carried out in 2,000MW phases comprising several separate IPPs.

Expressions of interest and proposals have also been invited for a 400kV network for the region as a whole or in part. This should include the links to the existing 132kV network.

US-based PB Power recently completed a country-wide evaluation of Iraq’s electricity needs and the KRG is using this information to inform the planning of its IPP programme. According to the KRG official, additional private firms may or may not be selected to advise on the financial, technical and legal aspects of the scheme.

Meanwhile in Baghdad, Iraq’s Electricity Ministry has decided to tender its former IPPs as engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contracts.

Unlike the rest of Iraq, Kurdistan has experience in developing private power capacity. To date, this has been in the form of bilateral negotiations with Jordan-based developer Mass Global, which has developed more than 90 per cent of the region’s power generation capacity.

The company has developed three power projects in the country at Dohuk, Suleimaniyah and Irbil. The Dohuk power project has a total capacity of 500MW and Suleimaniyah has a generation capacity of 750MW. Both projects are fully operational. The first six units of the Irbil project are currently in operation.