Prepared by the researcher
- Nagham Hameed Abdulkhudhur ( Republic of Iraq/ Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research/ Wasit University / College of Administration and Economics / Economics department )
- Rabab Nazim Khuzam Al-Okaili (Petroleum Products Distribution Company/ Ministry of Oil)
- Batoul Hassan Radad Al-Zubaidi (Audit Bureau)
Democratic Arab Center
Journal of Afro-Asian Studies : Fifteenth Issue – November 2022
A Periodical International Journal published by the “Democratic Arab Center” Germany – Berlin.
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The study aims to clarify and highlight the role of the relationship of the impact of renewable energy on the achievement of sustainable development, as the rapid spread of renewable energy technology has led to a significant and continuous decrease in costs and renewable energy technology has become increasingly competitive and economically viable. The achievement of sustainable development is largely related to the provision of renewable energy, which is increasingly consumed as a result of developments in all fields, and the failure to achieve them leads to major problems associated with the growth of its production and consumption, so we will study in the research the role of renewable energy as a tool to achieve sustainable development in Iraq through an analysis that bites the indicators of sustainable development and clarifies the initiative of the Central Bank of Iraq in renewable energy.
Energy plays a fundamental role in building human civilizations because it is considered the compass of economic growth in general and industrial growth in particular, as the world has relied in the establishment of its ancient and modern civilizations on energy with the aim of transforming natural resources from one form to another form in line with the requirements of individuals with the growing negative effects of the use of traditional energy sources, it has become necessary to find new alternatives to energy. Projects related to renewable energy as having the available potential that can be directed at achieving development purposes in various fields as the problem of the depletion of conventional energy as well as the harmful effects resulting from it have become necessary. Renewable energy has enormous potential that can be exploited in addressing the status of the energy sector in Iraq through its ability to provide additional energies and in addition to reducing costs and financial burdens, solar energy is one of the most effective options in the world when compared to it in terms of cost and health and environmental benefits.
Despite the disadvantages of fossil energy that can be reflected in the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals, traditional energy sources are the most used in the world, which requires the need to shift towards renewable energy as one of the most influential factors in sustainable development indicators.
The importance of research
The importance of the research lies in its nature resulting from the importance of renewable energy in the global economy for the success of many economic linkages that are associated with the expansion of the adoption of renewable energy along with its consequent economic, social and environmental benefits as an efficient alternative to depleted energy that is not desirable in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.
The research proceeds from the premise that the optimal and efficient utilization of renewable energy sources will be reflected positively in the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.
The research aims to identify the conceptual and theoretical frameworks of renewable energy as well as sustainable development, as the research aims to clarify the effects of the use of renewable energy instead of fossil energy sources on the dimensions of sustainable development, embodied in the economic, social and environmental dimension and to diagnose the possibility of Iraq benefiting from the experiences of other countries in the field of energy.
The concept of sustainable development and its indicators
The term “sustainable development” was widely known internationally and domestically in the late eighties of the last century, and the previously accepted concept was “development” in its traditional sense, especially after the Second World War and the attainment of political independence by Third World societies.
Nowadays, the concept of “sustainable development” is widely used, and the first to be officially referred to is the report “Our Common Future” issued by the World Commission on Development and Environment in 1987, and this committee was formed by a decision of the United Nations General Assembly in December 1983 under the chairmanship of the Prime Minister of Norway and the membership of 22 figures from the world’s ruling political and economic elites, with the aim of continuing global economic growth without the need to make radical changes in the structure of the global economic system. Sustainable development has been defined by multiple concepts, including “development that meets the needs of human beings.”
Without compromising the ability of future generations to achieve their goals, and focusing on sustainable integrated economic growth, environmental stewardship and social responsibility” .
Robert Solo defined sustainable development as “not to damage the productive capacity of the mountains to come and to maintain the situation inherited by the mountains, and expanded the concept of productive capacity to consider it not only consumer resources that are not for present generations, but go beyond that, to include in its material aspect the moral or cognitive aspect, which includes the nature and size of saving and the quality of investment for surplus value, as well as the principle of The rational consumption of current and future economic resources, and Solo’s concept of sustainability thus ensures the standard of living of future generations as it is available to present generations at least and ensures stability.” (Abdul Ghani, 2020) The Commission on Sustainable Development of the United Nations proposed 58 indicators divided according to the dimensions of sustainable development and into four economic, environmental, social and institutional sections, and divided these indicators into three categories called indicators of driving force, status and response, where the indicators of momentum are concerned with the classification of activities and processes, while the indicators of the situation assess the current situation briefly, while the indicators of response are concerned with a set of solutions and measures that have been implemented within the limits of development. (Al-Shammari, 2018) The indicators of sustainable development can be illustrated according to the following table:
Table (1) Sustainable Development Indicators as Classified by the United Nations Development Committee
|Driving force indicators
|· GDP per capita
· Share of investment in GDP
· Ratio of exports of goods and services to imports of goods and services
· Per capita energy consumption Current account balance as a percentage of GDP
· Total official development assistance as a proportion of GDP
• Human Poverty Index
• Population living below the poverty line
• Life expectancy at birth
• People who have no access to safe water
• Population that does not have access to health services
• Proportion of the urban population
• Per capita agricultural land
• Per capita agricultural land and permanent crop land
• Proportion of land affected by desertification
• Change in forest areas
|• Expenditure on research and development as a percentage of GDP
|· Unemployment rate
· Population growth rate
· Adult literacy rate
· Secondary school enrolment rate
|· Renewable materials
· Water use renewable reserves
· Fertilizer use
|• Number of scientists and engineers working in research and development per million inhabitants
|· Number of TVs and radios per 1,000 inhabitants
· Number of slippers per 1,000 inhabitants
· Number of telephone lines per 1,000 inhabitants
· Number of personal computers per 1,000 inhabitants
· Number of Internet subscribers per 1,000 inhabitants
Source: Mayeh Shabib Al-Shammari, Ali Hamza Jiad, Rentier Reality and its Effects on Sustainable Development Indicators in Iraq (Record Study for the Period 1985-2015), Journal of the College of Education for Girls for the Humanities, Issue (23), 2018, p. 150.
1-The concept of renewable energy and its sources
Specialists in renewable energy have tried to define it, with some defining it as “that energy that is naturally and sustainably generated and characterized by being inexhaustible and available in nature in an indefinite and sometimes specific manner but constantly renewable as well as being clean and does not result in any environmental pollution”. (Northern, 2019) It can be defined as “the use of natural resources, such as direct solar energy and others, to reduce carbon emissions and improve the environment through environmentally friendly projects.” One of the most important renewable sources of energy in Iraq is to mention them:( Renewable Energy Sources and Climate Change Mitigation, 2011)
- Direct solar energy.
- Geothermal energy.
- Marine Energy
- Wind energy.
2-The importance of renewable energy
Some studies indicate that there is a proportional relationship between the rate of energy consumption and economic growth, as increasing the rates of economic growth requires increasing consumption of various energy sources, and renewable energy is of great importance because it plays an important role in human life and it is expected that the coverage of a large part of its requirements will contribute because it is characterized by sustainability and long term if not to say that they are eternal sources that are not depleted because of their association with solar energy and this type of energy is characterized by being clean and friendly energy The environment, unlike the many environmental problems caused by fossil fuels, does not require the allocation of expenditures aimed at addressing environmental harms.3 (Haina,2019) that expanding the use of renewable energy sources can help mitigate climate change, economic and social development, secure energy availability as well as minimize negative impacts on the environment and health.
First: The Emergence of Renewable Energy in Iraq
Iraq is one of the countries where renewable energy sources are available, the extreme heat of the sun is very suitable in renewable energy projects, as well as wind in Iraq, which is characterized by summer two types of wind east south and southeast, where the wind speed is (80) kilometers in (50) miles per hour, as well as Iraq’s water sources, including the Tigris and Euphrates rivers and water lakes. In 2003, the Ministry of Science and Technology was established as the sole body responsible for renewable energy, identifying several key areas of importance for the future of renewable energy, including:
- Develop a national renewable energy policy to coordinate the work of the various government ministries.
- Forming a knowledge base for renewable energy in Iraq that will facilitate the integration of renewable energy into future projects.In 2010, the Ministry of Electricity established the Renewable Energy and Environment Unit within the organizational structure of the Ministry, as guaranteed by the Ministry of Electricity Law of 2017 in Chapter I (Clause-V) “Supporting and Encouraging the Use of Renewable Energy in Various Fields and Localizing its Industry” as well as within Chapter IV (Article 9-II).”
- Encourage the private sector to invest in the construction of renewable energy plants while providing the necessary incentives.1 (Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia, 2019)
Experiences of some Arab countries for renewable energy
The experiences of some countries for renewable energy can be illustrated in the following table:
Table 2 Experiences of some Arab countries for renewable energy
|Reference to Law No. 49 of 2015 on the establishment of the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Fund with the aim of encouraging investment in the field of energy efficiency and renewable energy.
|Masdar Clean Technology Fund was established with a capital of US$ 250 million (with the support of the private and government sector) to invest in in-country renewable energy projects around the world and the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development with a capital of US$ 350 million to grant soft loans for renewable energy projects in developing countries.
|The Electricity and Water Authority (EWA) Resolution (2) of 2017 was issued on the regulation of linking electricity production units from renewable energy to the electricity distribution system.
|Law 09-09 and Executive Decision 11423 do not establish a National Fund for Renewable Energy and Cogeneration in 2011.
|Government Order No. 983 of 2017 and its regulations on the Floating Transition Fund and the Renewable Energy Investment Fund worth 100 million Tunisian dinars were issued.
|Law 17 of 2013 on the establishment of the Solar Domestic Hot Subsidy Fund was issued by the Ministry of Electricity.
Source: Prepared by the two researchers based on: Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia, Renewable Energy Legislation and Policies in the Arab Region, United Nations ESCWA, Beirut, 2019, pp. 20-27.
Third: Percentage of renewable energy targets for Arab countries
The most important objectives of renewable energy are:
- Deploy appropriate renewable energy technology with a focus on electricity production.
- Develop the necessary infrastructures
- Enact legislation and adopt standards and specifications for related networks, equipment and systems.
- Improve the business environment to attract private investment and encourage small and medium-sized renewable energy projects at the local level.
- Supporting research and development activities linked to industrial and national capacities.
Table (3) Renewable energy targets and total installed capacities from renewable sources for Arab countries compared to Iraq during 2017.
|Approved Renewable Energy Targets
|Total installed capacity of renewable energy for 2017
|Policies for the deployment of renewable energy use
|Submit the project proposal directly
|Net Energy Measurement
Source: Prepared by the researchers based on: Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia, Renewable Energy Legislation and Policies in the Arab Region, United Nations ESCWA, Beirut, 2019, p. 13.
From the table above, we note that the policies of energy legislation are the basis on which energy markets in general and renewable energy in particular are based, and despite the importance of these policies, they are still modest goals spread in the Arab countries, which ranged by (5-30%) until 2020, and this depends mainly on incentive policies, financing and implementation mechanisms as well as follow-up and evaluation. In Iraq, there have been no renewable energy policies since 2017 despite the establishment of the renewable energy unit in the Ministry of Electricity in 2010 and the inclusion in the law of the Ministry of Electricity in 2017 of support and encouragement for renewable energy, so Iraq has achieved (11%) of the renewable energy targets until 2020 for several reasons, including the lack of funding within the state budget for renewable energy within the budget of the Ministry of Electricity despite the launch of the Central Bank of Iraq initiative in 2019. The table below represents the percentage of allocations of the Ministry of Electricity from the general budget of the state, as the allocation rates to the Ministry of Electricity ranged from the total general budget (3-8%), which is very small percentages that are not commensurate with what is prescribed in the law of the Ministry of Electricity is about encouraging and supporting renewable energy in Iraq as well as not commensurate with the initiative of the Central Bank in supporting development projects to promote the reality of renewable energy and to make 2022 a national year of renewable energy in Iraq.
Table4The ratio of the allocations of the Ministry of Electricity to the general budget is one million dinars
|Total General Budget(1)
|Ministry of Electricity Assignments
|Ratio of the Ministry of Electricity to the Total Budget
Source: Table prepared by the researchers based on: Iraqi Chronicles, General Budget Law, Different Years.
First: Development Dimensions and Economic Environment in Iraq
There are some economic, environmental, social and institutional indicators concerned with measuring sustainable development, including:
- Economic indicators: Table (5) is represented by the average per capita output and growth rates of GDP, it is noted through the data that the clear fluctuation in GDP, which affected the average per capita output for the period (2005-2020) as a result of economic, security and political conditions, the growth rate of output reached (5.60%) during 2006 and increased to (8.23%) during 2008 as a result of the increase in oil revenues, which resulted in an increase in the salaries of state employees and the expansion of the social insurance system as a result of the rise in prices Oil and this in turn reflected on the average per capita output to reach (3781.9) million dinars, while during 2009 the rates of growth of output decreased, which was reflected in the average per capita output as a result of the decline in oil prices due to the global financial crisis and then rebounded until 2013, while in 2014 the GDP achieved negative growth rates to reach The GDP achieved negative growth rates to reach (-3.10%) and the average per capita share decreased to (4709.1) million dinars as a result of the decline in oil prices as well as On the deteriorating security conditions and the increase in military expenditures due to the war on terrorism, then the growth rates of output returned to rise to achieve positive growth rates as a result of the rise in crude oil prices, which was reflected in the increase in oil revenues from the export of crude oil, but as a result of the economic crisis experienced by the whole world due to the Covid-19 virus and the decline in oil prices, the growth rates of output decreased to (-27.9%) and the average per capita output amounted to (4889.1) million dinars.
Table (5) Some indicators of sustainable development in Iraq for the period (2005-2020)
|GDP at constant prices
|Average GDP per capita %
|Average per capita cultivated land (dunam)
|Per capita CO2 emissions (metric tons per capita per year)
– Ministry of Planning, Central Bureau of Statistics, Annual Statistical Bulletin, Miscellaneous Years.
– Central Bureau of Statistics, Priority Environmental and Sustainable Development Indicators in Iraq, Baghdad, 2011, p. 76.
– Central Bureau of Statistics, Millennium Development Goals in Iraq and a Post-2015 Perspective, multiple pages.
– Sustainable Development Goals, Statistical Report, 2020.
– World Bank data, available at: https://data.albankaldawli.org
- Environmental indicators: They are represented by the average per capita share of cultivated land and the emission of carbon dioxide CO2 and these indicators are of great importance as they achieve the Sustainable Development Goals by monitoring changes to the environment and natural resources, whether positive or negative(1), from the data of Table (5) it is clear to us that the average per capita share of cultivated land witnessed a clear fluctuation during the period (2005-2018) if it reached (0.53) dunams during 2005 and decreased to (0.11) dunams during 2018 for reasons Many of them are: rural-to-urban migration, water scarcity, as well as economic openness and other reasons. The average per capita CO2 gas amounted to (3.3) metric tons for 2005 and decreased to (2.8) metric tons for 2007 due to unstable security conditions and the cessation of the processing of local refineries, then began to rise for subsequent years until it reached (4.9) metric tons for 2018 and the reason for the increase in emissions is due to the increase in Iraqi oil production during this period.
- Social indicators: including the unemployment index in Iraq, which is represented by the high rates of its rates for reasons including: high rates of population growth, dependence of the Iraqi economy on one side and lack of diversity of sources of income, weak role of the private sector in absorbing the large numbers of graduates. The period from (2005-2010) witnessed a decrease in unemployment rates as a result of the adoption of the employment policy followed by the state after 2005, which aims to increase the numbers of employees in the state and the security apparatus (army and police), and unemployment rates increased by slight rates during 2014 as a result of the low level of employment in the economic sectors, unstable security conditions, terrorist operations and the failure to approve the general budget, and continued to rise during the subsequent years to reach (24.7%) during 2020 due to the increase in the number of graduates and the lack of job opportunities. Mismanagement, widespread corruption in all state facilities, the emergence of the economic crisis experienced by the whole world due to the COVID-19 virus, the decline in oil prices and the lack of a real slump that will revive the entire economy.
- Institutional indicators: These are represented by indicators of the size of public spending on education and health and their ratio to GDP, because of the great importance of education and a strong relationship with the economy and is the main tool in the development of the human element, as well as the importance of the health sector in the development of sustainable development as a fundamental thing in the process of building and developing the human being and preparing him mentally and physically. After 2003, the Iraqi State tried to improve the reality of the educational and health sector by detecting and overcoming the obstacles that stand in the two sectors as in Table 6. (Abbas,2020)
Table (6) Some indicators of sustainable development in Iraq for the period (2005-2020)
|GDP at constant prices
|Spending on education at fixed prices
|Expenditure on education as a percentage of
|Spending on health
|Expenditure on health as a percentage of GDP%
– Ministry of Planning, Central Bureau of Statistics, Annual Statistical Bulletin, Miscellaneous Years.
– Data of the Iraqi Ministry of Health and Environment for Science 2005-2020
Second: The Central Bank’s Initiative for Renewable Energy in Iraq
In line with the international trends related to reducing thermal emissions, the Central Bank has issued an initiative aimed at financing electricity generation systems based on renewable energy sources, as this initiative comes in line with the outcomes of the Paris Climate Conference in 2015, as the Central Bank’s initiative came with the aim of switching to clean energy within this framework. Based on the Paris Agreement of 2015 on climate change, the most important outcome of the 21st United Nations Climate Change Conference had a significant impact on the countries of the world, especially developing countries, as it considered 2016 to be the development of policies for renewable energy and the achievement of sustainable development goals, including the goals of energy, i.e. the inclusion of renewable energy goals in their national plans. Therefore, the Central Bank of Iraq decided on 27/10/2021 to allocate funds aimed at supporting
Clean renewable energy through the purchase of renewable energy generation units. The Central Bank of Iraq will work in cooperation with the competent banks in granting loans on concessional terms to small projects and citizens with the aim of providing renewable energy units according to specific specifications and high sustainability. The Central Bank announced the allocation of one trillion Iraqi dinars to support clean energy, while the Investment Authority confirmed that the government has adopted cooperation with international companies with the aim of creating 7.5 gigawatts through solar energy.
The trend towards the adoption of renewable energy sources instead of conventional energy is the first step towards the transition towards a green economy, as renewable energy is the next economy, so the loans granted were low interest in order to increase investment in energy and establish power plants powered by clean energy (solar energy), which contributes to improving the environment and reducing risks.
- he developed as well as developing world countries seek to use renewable energy with the aim of minimizing the negative effects of the use of fossil fuels, which will be reflected without achieving the desired Sustainable Development Goals.
- Renewable energy is one of the most important sources of clean and sustainable energy as well as low costs of its use.
- There are many forms of renewable energy to the extent that the most commonly used images are solar, wind, hydro and others.
- The need to reduce dependence on traditional energy sources and move towards low-cost renewable energy sources through the expansion of research and development in this area.
- Encouraging citizens to expand the use of solar energy in accordance with the Central Bank Initiative with the aim of generating electricity, as well as granting individuals soft loans that enable them to purchase solar energy systems.
- Provide a stimulating investment climate to attract foreign investors and benefit from their expertise in establishing renewable energy projects through the issuance of legislation and laws and work to grant licenses to sober companies in this field.
- Yousef Abdul Ghaffar Abdullah, The Concept of Sustainable Development, Regional Network for Social Responsibility, available at: https://www.regionalcsr.com
- Mohamed Fathy Abdel Ghani, The Evolution of the Concept of Sustainable Development, Its Dimensions and Consequences in Egypt, Beni Suef University, Scientific Journal of Economics and Trade, 2020.
- . Mayeh Shabib Al-Shammari, Ali Hamza Jiad, Rentier Reality and its Effects on Sustainable Development Indicators in Iraq (Standard Study for the Period 1985-2015), Journal of the College of Education for Girls for the Humanities, Issue (23), 2018.
- Abdullah Al-Shamali et al., Energy and Climate Change in the Middle East and North Africa, Youth Perspective Towards a Sustainable Future, October 2019.
- IPCC Special Report, Renewable Energy Sources and Climate Change Mitigation, 2011.
- Sherif Henna, The Importance of Renewable Energy in Environmental Protection for Sustainable Development, Voice of the Arts, Volume 6, Issue 2, 2019.
- Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia, Renewable Energy Legislation and Policies in the Arab Region, United Nations ESCWA, Beirut, 2019.
- Iraqi Chronicles, General Budget Law, Different Years.
- Ministry of Planning, Central Bureau of Statistics, Annual Statistical Bulletin, Miscellaneous Years.
- Central Bureau of Statistics, Priority Environmental and Sustainable Development Indicators in Iraq, Baghdad, 2011.
- Central Bureau of Statistics, The Millennium Development Goals in Iraq and a Post-2015 Perspective, multiple pages.
- Sustainable Development Goals, Statistical Report, 2020.
- World Bank data, available on the website: https://data.albankaldawli.org.
- Sami Hamid Abbas et al., Oil Revenues and their Implications for Some Sustainable Development Indicators in Iraq for the Period (2003-2018), Anbar University Journal of Economic and Administrative Sciences, Volume (12), Issue (30).
- Ministry of Planning, Central Bureau of Statistics, Annual Statistical Bulletin, Miscellaneous Years.
- Data of the Iraqi Ministry of Health and Environment for Science (2005-2020).