The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) inaugurated the new Khabat steam power station, the second milestone for a major strategic project of the autonomous region in a single week.
The facility, located in the Kurdistan Region’s capital of Erbil, was opened in an official ceremony led by regional Prime Minister Masrour Barzani, who switched on the power station’s initial operation. Deputy Prime Minister Qubad Talabani and several other ministers and officials were also present.
“Khabat power plant produces 300 megawatts of energy, which raises the production capacity of the national network in the Kurdistan Region by up to 10 percent,” said Barzani in a speech.
“This shows that we are now providing and will continue to provide, services to our people and we will not stop despite the economic crisis we are going through, as neither private sector, nor the government has been disrupted, we will continue despite the coronavirus pandemic crisis.”
The event comes just three days after Barzani laid the foundation stone for the long-awaited highway project in the city of Sulaimani.
Construction on the Khabat steam power facility began in 2012 and has involved several multinational construction and energy firms.
In his speech, Barzani emphasized that, since being sworn in one year ago this month, the KRG’s ninth cabinet has been working to rehabilitate and strengthen the energy sector. He promised that energy infrastructure, generation, transmission, and distribution will be significantly improved in the coming months and years by such projects as the power station and the Ministry of Electricity’s plan to assess and renovate transmission lines.
KRG Minister of Electricity Kamal Mohammed stated that the facility had been completed with a budget of $564 million, adding that it “is being operated with black oil and waste from refineries.” He also pointed out that it has been linked by pipeline to the Kowergosek Refinery, also located in Erbil’s Khabat district, “which is why we do not need to transfer fuel to the plant.”
The Consul General in Erbil of South Korea, the nation where a company involved in the construction of the plant is from, was present at the ceremony as well and extended his congratulations on the occasion. “This project is historic for the Kurdistan Region,“ he said, stressing his country’s eagerness to further increase cooperation with the KRG.
Prime Minister Barzani also called on the people to deal more seriously with the coronavirus, and the KRG’s regulations aimed at protecting the health and lives of its citizens.