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Electricity in Iraq in 2021

Global Ranking: #119
4.6% #166 Low-carbon electricity
303.84 watts #108 Generation / person
481.29 gCO2eq/kWh #124 Carbon Intensity
16.1% net imports Electricity imports

In 2021, Iraq's electricity consumption was 303.84 watts/person, significantly lower than the global average of 412 watts/person. The bulk of this power, almost 80%, came from fossil energy, especially gas which produced about 65% of the total. The contribution of low-carbon energy to the electricity mix was minimal, generating only about 14 watts/person. It is mainly made up of hydropower, contributing close to 13 watts/person, and a small fraction of solar power, just about 1 watt/person. This imbalance in energy sources is reflective of the country's heavy reliance on fossil fuels, which could have several implications. Low levels of electricity generation might limit economic growth as industries, services, and households grapple with unreliable power supply. Moreover, dependence on fossil fuels also impacts the environment negatively, contributing to global warming and poor air quality. An additional factor to consider is that about 16% of Iraq's electricity consumption is met through net imports, suggesting a dependency on foreign sources for power needs.


To increase its low-carbon electricity generation, Iraq could take a leaf out of the book of several successful countries. Countries with climates and geographical features similar to Iraq, such as Australia and the United Arab Emirates, have significantly invested in solar energy, generating 147 and 63 watts/person respectively. Given Iraq's abundant sunshine, the deployment of solar power on a larger scale would generate substantial low-carbon electricity. Besides, countries like Spain, Portugal, Ireland have achieved substantial wind power generating up to 149, 147, 258 watts/person respectively. Considering Iraq's vast desert areas and coastal regions, there is potential for wind power development. Iraq could also learn from countries like the United Arab Emirates -- a fellow Middle Eastern country that has invested in nuclear power, contributing up to 129 watts/person. Expanding into nuclear power could provide a significant boost to its low-carbon energy supply.


In Iraq, hydropower has been the dominant source of low-carbon electricity in the historical context. From 1982 to 2019, Iraq's hydropower output was characterized by fluctuations. In the early 1980s, there was a slight decrease in hydropower generation, followed by significant growth in 1987. A sharp drop in production was recorded in 1991-1992, staying relatively stable until 2005 when there was a significant jump. However, this was followed by a period of decrease and instability until 2010, with small fluctuations and a noticeable decline in 2014. In recent years, from 2016–2019, there has been a moderate increase in hydropower with a substantial jump in 2019. Meanwhile, solar power, a significant potential resource in the country, only started contributing to Iraq's electricity generation in 2018, suggesting an untapped capacity for substantially increasing Iraq's low-carbon energy output.

Data Sources

For the years 1980 to 1984 the data sources are EIA and IEA (imports/exports).
For the years 1985 to 1989 the data sources are Energy Institute and IEA (imports/exports).
For the years 1990 to 1999 the data source is IEA.
For the years 2000 to 2021 the data source is Ember.