Apparently it's becoming damn near impossible to get electricity up in Iraq. This is from the NYT's:
Crews that arrive to repair the damage are often attacked and sometimes killed, ensuring that the government falls further and further behind as it attempts to repair the lines.And in a measure of the deep disunity and dysfunction of this nation, when the repair crews and security forces are slow to respond, skilled looters often arrive with heavy trucks that pull down more of the towers to steal as much of the valuable aluminum conducting material in the lines as possible. The aluminum is melted into ingots and sold.All of this means electricity is expensive both in monetary and human cost. To make matters even worse:
Electricity Ministry officials said they could think of no case in which saboteurs had been caught. Payments made to local tribes in exchange for security have been ineffective, electricity officials said.So what does this mean for Iraqi's?
The attacks have an immediate impact on the lives of ordinary Iraqis. Last week even the official United States State Department figures, which many Iraqis contend lean toward the optimistic side, said there was an average of 6.6 hours of electricity per day in Baghdad and 8.9 hours nationwide.And then there is this suggestion from Coeruleus:
Before the war, Baghdad had 16 to 24 hours of power and the rest of Iraq 4 to 8 hours, according to the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction, an independent United States federal office.
Considering that natural gas bubbles up from underneath most every desert rock, the sun shines 300 days a year, and there's enough wind to whip up dust storms, why hasn't anyone ever troubled themselves to attempt to establish some distributed power generation other than diesel generators--the fuel for which itself requires power to refine--in Iraq? Years after we toppled Saddam's regime?Which if you think about it makes a lot of sense. If solar cells or wind turbines were on each roof top then it would be very difficult to take out the power. The terrorism resistance of alternative and distributed energy has been highlighted by several Nobel Laureates for some time. I have yet to see this tactic implemented.
New York Times, Iraq Insurgents Starve Capital of Electricity, JAMES GLANZ, December 19, 2006