On Thursday, Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani inaugurated the first electricity plant in Iraq to be converted to a combined cycle system. The conversion will increase the amount of electricity produced without using extra fuel to run the plant, to support the growing electricity needs of the Kurdistan Region and Iraq.
Speaking at the ceremony, Prime Minister Barzani said, "As we have announced before in the agenda of the government, facilitating and supporting the expansion of the private sector's participation in long-term industrial projects is a major goal of this current government. We want to see more factories, more production, and more major agricultural initiatives, and we will do what we can to clear away obstacles to progress, and provide a safe, secure, and reliable business environment."
The upgrade of the Erbil power plant is being made by Kurdistan's Mass Global together with Turkey's ENKA, using two steam turbines supplied by GE to boost output without additional fuel by 470 megawatts, enough additional electricity to serve 100,000 Iraqi households.
The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) has already begun exporting electricity to both Kirkuk and Mosul, helping to alleviate shortages in other parts of Iraq and increasing revenues for Kurdistan.
Mr. Sefa Sadık Aytekin, Deputy Undersecretary of Turkey's Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources, said, "This is a very important project between the Kurdish and Turkish private sectors and such projects are indicative of this solid relationship between the KRG and Turkey, particularly in the energy sector."
The Prime Minister reiterated his commitment to the long-term industrial projects that are a major goal of the KRG. He said, "As was true when I served in the Fifth Cabinet, electricity, water, and services are the most important priorities of the KRG today also, and we will continue prioritizing these sectors. They are important for our citizens because they will fuel further development in other sectors as well."
He added, "As a nation, we must make better use of technology, learn modern work methods, and become more professional and committed in our work habits. We must develop a better work culture. We need to improve our productivity and better utilize our time at our jobs."
The Prime Minister thanked the American company GE, Belgium's CMI, and Germany's ABB and GEA for helping ENKA to complete the project. He welcomed the contribution of international investors and businesses in Kurdistan and thanked them for their hard work in utilizing and expanding their partnership with the KRG and the international community as a whole.
Several KRG and foreign officials participated in the ceremony, including the KRG Minister of Electricity Yasin Sheikh Abubakir Mawati, the Governor of Erbil Nawzad Hadi, and the Governor of Kirkuk Najmaldin Karim.