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The Wassit plant generates energy for 20 percent of the national electricity grid amid extreme summer heat and COVID-19 pandemic.
Constructed and operated by Shanghai Electric Group, the power plant situated in Wassit province has stabilized Iraq's electricity supply amid the extreme heat of summer and continued crises of the COVID-19 pandemic.
It is the largest thermal power plant in the country and has become the backbone of the power supply to Baghdad, securing approximately 20 percent of Iraq's national power grid.
The country was gripped by summer heat with mounting pressure on the power supply. Meanwhile, Iraq witnessed the highest number of COVID-19 cases in the Arabic world.
"The highest temperature at the power plant reached 53 Celsius degrees," engineer Lu Guoqing told Xinhua, adding that "we are challenged by the pandemic and high temperatures, but we have successfully completed our task.”
As of Sept. 15, the power plant has produced 10.06 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity this year to play an important role in the reopening of Iraq's economy. China helps provide more than electricity at the plant.
"The number of Iraqi staff from the Electricity Ministry was greatly reduced during lockdowns," Lu said. "When Iraqi staff faced shortages of masks, the Chinese side donated 100,000 masks to them."
Evolution of cases in Afghanistan, Djibouti, Egypt, Iraq, Morocco, Pakistan, Somalia, Sudan, since 100th confirmed case. pic.twitter.com/1UCasKwT8H
Many Iraqis who work with the Shanghai Electric Group have praised the company for its efforts in providing job opportunities.
"I hope the Iraqi government could reach an agreement with China to build more power plants in Iraq," Omer Hammoud said, adding that "the project is huge and successful, and such projects can solve the problem of power shortages in Iraq."
Another engineer Amir Jasim said the Chinese company is applying strict COVID-19 preventive measures at the plant's site, including social distancing and sterilization.
"The company is doing a wonderful job working on providing electricity in Iraq despite difficult circumstances," Jasim added. "I hope that Shanghai Electric will implement more electric power projects in Iraq."