Address at least 3 possible alternative energy sources that could be used for the future in Iraq.

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kipling2448 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Iraq is rich in oil and natural gas deposits, so there has been minimal motivation on the part of the Iraqi government to pursue alternative sources of energy. Ideally, it would develop renewable energy sources such as solar (it is, after all, a desert land with a great deal of sunlight) and wind. If one is examining Iraq in the real-world context, however, the obstacles to developing or maintaining even existing energy resources are formidable. Obviously, Iraq has been torn apart by war since the U.S. invasion in 2003, and control over key resources, which are located in disparate parts of the country, will probably remain contentious. Insurgencies emanating from ethnic, religious and political rivalries had impeded economic progress in Iraq, and one of the country's most important oil fields, in the region of Kirkuk, is the subject of territorial disputes involving the region's Kurdish and Arab populations, with the main government in Baghdad representing the latter segment. Additionally, the Islamic State is active in the western part of the country, making development projects of any kind in that area difficult at best.

As noted, Iraq is a desert country, which makes it ideal for the development of solar power. As with other countries, including the United States, the will to invest in solar and other forms of renewable energy rises and wanes with the price of oil. Iraq has a well-developed oil industry and sees no reason to diversify at this time. It would, however, be an ideal location geographically to develop solar energy infrastructures.

Another, so far unmentioned, energy source is nuclear power. Nuclear power is in many ways an enormously efficient means of generating electricity. Fast breeder reactors actually produce more fuel than they burn. There are two huge problems involving this option, however. One problem involves the political instability discussed above. Nuclear energy plants are notoriously vulnerable to military attack. With the Islamic State and other insurgencies active, securing such a plant would prove prohibitively difficult. The growing threat of explosive munitions dropped from unmanned drones has become an additional area of concern with regard to protecting facilities of all kinds from attack.

The other problem with nuclear energy as a potential source of electricity in Iraq is political. The main reason for the 2003 U.S. invasion was concern about then-Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein's presumed efforts at developing nuclear weapons. While those efforts, it turned out, ended around 1998, the U.S. government remained convinced that the Iraqi program was continuing. While the program had been terminated (although, the main blue prints had been concealed from United Nations and U.S. weapons inspectors), there would be residual concern about Iraq again developing nuclear energy facilities that would heighten concerns across the region about the potential for a nuclear armed state with a high level of political instability. (It should be noted here that some Arab nations would welcome a nuclear-armed Arab state to counter the threat from Iran, which is Persian rather than Arab, and to use to threaten Israel, which unilaterally destroyed an important Iraqi nuclear reactor in 1981.)

Three potential, if highly improbably, sources of energy that Iraq could pursue, then, are solar, wind and nuclear.

 

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