On the 1st-2nd December, 2019, the first International Conference and Exhibition on Renewable Energy in Iraq (IRE) will be held in Baghdad. Organised by both the Ministry of Industry and Minerals and the Ministry of Electricity, the event will aim to develop and expand the scope of green energy use in Iraq’s future, on a national and a local level. The conference aims to bring together industry experts, investors, government officials and diplomats to network, develop ideas and look at the practical implementation of them. Given Iraq’s pressing need to make up shortages in the production of electricity, and the excellent conditions in the country for the deployment of renewable energy, the conference offers a superb opportunity to commit Iraq to a green future.
At the heart of the IRE agenda is ensuring that progress in renewable energy is combined with economic benefit. The conference aims to ensure that the push towards renewable energy comes with jobs in Iraq, and by seeking foreign investment and looking at the example of other countries that have already taken steps towards greener power to make sure that the change is cost effective, and does not come down on the Iraqi people’s heads. An example of this is the commitment to focusing on storage technology for renewable power. The recent developments in Solar Fuel Cells from Eindhoven University of Technology, that increase the power yield of a cell 10 times from what it was with previous technology, is just one example that can be applied to Iraq. By making sure practical concerns are well covered by the conference, thing like the Solar Fuel Cells will no be overlooked, and Iraq can gain a head start on integrating green energy into the country’s life and economy by looking at the practical side of things parallel to the wider target.
Aside from the aim of developing the political target of green energy, the IRE will also host an exhibition of energy technology. The support for the conference from Ministries creates a unique opportunity for business to gain unmatched exposure. With the conference aimed at getting foreign investors to work with the government, there is an audience for private businesses to take a lead in the Iraqi market. In addition, the Ministry of Electricity is organising ‘reverse auction’ for the design, financing, construction and operation of 7 individual solar power plants, each to fulfil a certain set of requirement for a different province. Independent power providers invited to submit their pans at the exhibition, and those chose will receive a lease on the land for the plants, as well as connecting them to the national grid and purchasing electricity once they are up and running. Aiming to provide power to 250,000 household, this project is a prime example of what the IRE can achieve.
What needs to happen is for the admirable purpose set by the conference to be maintained after it is over. That government ministries, the Central Bank and the Renewable Energy R & D Centre have all fully backed the IRE is a greatly positive sign. The conference’s combination of government and private business, and its internationalist outlooks is the right key to successful drive renewable power in Iraq. The will behind it must remain strong, however, to truly benefit, and if it does then green energy in Iraq will provide jobs, boost business and make the country a leader in clean power.