Engineers upgrade electrical system at key Iraqi agency
February 13, 2010
- Iraqi Ministry of Interior handles policing and border control in Iraq
- USACE project doubles electrical capacity at Interior Ministry headquarters
- Three energy sources will reduce electrical shortages and blackouts within the building
BAGHDAD, Iraq (Feb. 13, 2010) -- Sustainable electrical power in Iraq has been in short supply for generations. Even before the overthrow of Saddam Hussein, Iraqis only had electricity for two to four hours a day. And most Iraqi citizens just work around the outages, and carry on without electricity.
For the Iraqi Ministry of Interior, which handles policing and border control in Iraq, having uninterrupted electrical power in its 11-story headquarters building is not an option; it's a necessity. Faced with an aged, deteriorating electrical distribution system, the ministry turned to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Gulf Region District for solutions to upgrade the system.
Tim Ernster, an electrical engineer in the district's Loyalty Resident Office, said the goal of the $6.5 million electrical distribution project is to upgrade the ministry's electrical system and double its current capacity.
"The essence of the Ministry of Interior electrical upgrade project is to enhance the capacity and reliability of the electrical service to the headquarters building," Ernster said. "The project basically doubles the amount of electrical power the headquarters building can safely consume by changing out switch gears and transformers within the building, and constructing a new substation and backup power generator farm to provide more sources of energy."
Ernster says a third part of the plan includes constructing a paralleling switch-gear facility to integrate the two main power sources with the existing utility feed.
"Taken together, these three sources of energy will reduce electrical shortages and blackouts within the headquarters building," Ernster said. "As the Ministry of Interior modernizes with new technologies, the electrical infrastructure within its headquarters building will need to reliably handle the added energy demand."
Civilian Technologies Limited is the general contractor for the electrical distribution system upgrade project.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in Iraq has completed thousands of reconstruction projects in partnership with the U.S. Government and the Government of Iraq. Since 2004, USACE has completed 5,257 projects throughout Iraq valued at more than $9.1 billion, and has more than 350 projects ongoing. The overall reconstruction effort in Iraq currently provides jobs for more than 20,000 Iraqis.