Iraq is one of the world’s largest energy producers, but its people and its economy are hampered by pressures of electricity shortfalls and rising demand. The reliability of electricity services has long been an issue for the country, with violent protests breaking out last summer in the south due to blackouts from high demand. The disruption cost the old electricity minister his job.
In this edition of Columbia Energy Exchange, host Jason Bordoff is joined by Iraq’s new Minister of Electricity, Luay al-Khatteeb, the man responsible for addressing these problems and who, it has been said, has perhaps the toughest job in the Iraqi government, considering the history of challenges in the electricity sector.
Luay al-Khatteeb was a former non-resident fellow at CGEP as well as the Founder and Director of the Iraq Energy Institute. He’s had a vast career in business and in public policy, with positions at various international oil companies, as well as commercial banks and management consulting firms. He’s been a contributor to the Brookings Institution, Chatham House, the Kennedy School at Harvard, and other organizations.
Today, questions remain about how to manage power demand and supply, and whether new plans to rehabilitate transmission lines and build up resilience of the grid will pan out in light of security challenges, financing challenges, and international pressures. Jason sat down with Luay in Abu Dhabi at the World Energy Congress to discuss these challenges and much more.