Saturday, August 04, 2007

Iraq's Energy Heading to Oblivion: The Iraqi Minister's and a Top Marine Corps General's Call for Distributed Energy goes Ignored

Apparently electricity is becoming rather scarce in the energy rich Iraq. The Bush Administration is attempting their signature denial tactics:
As the Bush administration struggles to convince lawmakers that its Iraq war strategy is working, it has stopped reporting to Congress a key quality-of-life indicator in Baghdad: how long the power stays on.

Ryan Crocker, the U.S. ambassador to Iraq, told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee last week that Baghdad residents could count on only "an hour or two a day" of electricity. That's down from an average of five to six hours a day earlier this year.

But that piece of data has not been sent to lawmakers for months because the State Department, which prepares a weekly "status report" for Congress on conditions in Iraq, stopped estimating in May how many hours of electricity Baghdad residents typically receive each day.
An hour a day of electricity is not going to be a whole lot of fun when the temperatures are reaching 118°F in Baghdad and 122°F in Nasiriya.

Of course maybe the US wouldn't have this problem if they picked a distributed energy supply that was a vastly more resistant to terrorist attacks such as wind, natural gas micro-generators (pic below) and solar.

I guess nobody noticed that:
natural gas bubbles up from underneath most [sic] every desert rock, the sun shines 300 days a year, and there's enough wind to whip up dust storms
The US has spent an average of $19,000 per Iraqi citizen since the evasion began and electricity is running at only a fraction of what it was under Saddam. The extra costs of wind and solar should be trivial compared to constantly rebuilding the perpetually bombed electrical grid that is being "melted into ingots and sold" by terrorists and looters. So why are we still insisting on using the highly vulnerable crude oil power plants to generate electricity? Billions of dollars are being spent on the electrical grid but the conditions are getting worse and worse. Maybe a system that is a little more distributed will help alleviate the situation. And maybe the people up top have known all of this they just don't want to take action. From Amory Lovins:
Some of us have made three attempts at [bringing decentralized power to Iraq] and there's a fourth now under discussion. The first three attempts, the third of which was backed by the Iraqi power minister, were vetoed by the U.S. political authorities on the grounds that they'd already given big contracts to Bechtel, Halliburton, et. al to rebuild the old centralized system, which of course the bad guys are knocking down faster than it can be put back up.
A similar request was made by U.S. Marine Corps Maj. Gen. Richard Zilmer. He's the top U.S. commander in western Iraq and back in September he sent the Pentagon a "Priority 1" request for solar panels and wind turbines to augment traditional diesel generators. No changes in policy have been made.

h/t Tim Lambert, graph Eli Rabett

LAtimes, U.S. drops Baghdad electricity reports The daily length of time that residents have power has dropped. The figure is considered a key indicator of quality of life. Noam N. Levey and Alexandra Zavis, July 27, 2007
Digg, The Shocking Cost of War: Every Single Iraqi Could Have Received $19,000
US Army corps of Engineers,Corps people help restore peace, normal life in Iraq
Iraq Electricity : Iraq allocates $2 billion for Ministry of Electricity next year
Thursday, December 28th 2006
New York Times, Iraq Insurgents Starve Capital of Electricity, JAMES GLANZ, December 19, 2006
The Christian Science Monitor, Mark Clayton, 07 Sep 2006
Gristmill, Green Is the New Camouflage, U.S. general in Iraq calls for renewable power
GristMill, All You Need Is Lovins, A conversation with energy guru Amory Lovins, David Roberts, 26 Jul 2007