The project is intended to accomplish a number of goals:
(i) Considerably reduce greenhouse gas emissions arising from the energy industry
(ii) Substantially improve the supply of electricity to the Lebanese population
(iii) Slash the huge deficit in the Lebanese treasury
(iv) Generate employment opportunities for the Lebanese population
Project components and related activities are summarized below:
Component 1: Considerably reduce greenhouse gas emissions arising from the energy industry
• Activity 1.1: Install a 10 MW photovoltaic solar farm on Lebanese territory which has been proven to reduce GHG emissions by up to 90% when compared to energy generation using conventional methods. It must be noted that 10 MW is the initial stepping stone to a full-fledged plan aiming to switch to the use of renewable energy.
• Activity 1.2: Switch from the burning of fossil fuels (which is highly susceptible to fluctuations in price) as a primary source of energy to solar energy
Component 2: Substantially improve the supply of electricity of the Lebanese population
• Activity 2.1: Installation of a battery farm similar to that carried out by Tesla in Australia in order to store energy before distribution. This must be done since the Lebanese electricity network is unreliable at times with 15% of generated electricity being lost due to poor transmission maintenance.
• Activity 2.2: Maintenance of the transmission network that is being supplied by the solar-battery farm to satisfy customers and avoid energy leaks that go to waste.
Component 3: Slash the huge deficit in the Lebanese treasury
• Activity 3.1: The completion of the project will indirectly redirect money intended to fix the electricity sector’s shortcomings (which has proven to be unfruitful) into projects that are destined to achieve economic growth.
• Activity 3.2: Give incentive to other companies to invest in Lebanese infrastructure thus funneling money from international communities into the country
Component 4: Generate employment opportunities for the Lebanese population
• Activity 4.1: Installation of a solar and battery farm will naturally create jobs which will be given to Lebanese citizens with high priority. This is due to the fact that the unemployment rate among Lebanese youth has surged in the last decade due to socio-political conflicts
In addition to the above outputs and impacts, there comes a multitude of long term benefits. Firstly, it will raise awareness to the importance of switching over to renewable energy. Once Lebanese citizens are enjoying a full twenty-four hours of electricity, they can attribute this to the installment of renewable energy which will push them to learn more about this type of industry. Moreover, the country will not be reliant on fossil fuels and the pressure associated with the dependence on this type of fuel. Instead, renewable energy will pave the way to energy independence. As solar and battery farms spread throughout the country, this will inherently solve the problem with the maintenance of transmission networks as the transmission networks in the vicinity of each solar/battery farm shall be up to par with the farm’s supply output. As the number of infrastructure projects increases within Lebanon, a lot of public money previously needed to maintain infrastructure can be freed up to be used for other services. Moreover, international company’s confidence in Lebanese economy will growth thus attracting large amounts of investment further bolstering growth.
This project conforms with the laws issued by the Lebanese authorities. In particular, it is compliant to Law 462 issued on September 2, 2005. This law provides the legal framework of establishing a company with the purpose of producing and distributing electricity. Another law further enhancing the ability to produce electricity is Law 288 issued on April 30, 2014 and Law 54 issued on 2015 (which is an extension of Law 288). Law 288 dictates that the council of ministers can grant temporary permits and licenses to produce electricity upon the proposal of the Minister of Energy and Water as well as the Minister of Finance for a maximum of 2 years. In that time, the National Electricity Regulatory Authority (NERA) would have been established which shall oversee activities related to energy production. Before the establishment of Law 54/2015, no permits were issued thus raising fear that the Lebanese government is not serious in tis tenure to fix the electricity problem.
Following recent events, delegates from the European Union, Arab League, United Nations Development Program, the World Bank, and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) have met in Paris in what is being dubbed as Cedar Conference. During this conference, these entities pledged to lend Lebanon billions of dollars to boost economic reform and fix problems related to water, transport, and electricity sector. Around 60% of the investment program is expected to be funded by grants and soft loans through the IMF’s Compensatory Financing Facility (CFF), with an interest rate set as less than 1.5% over a period of 20 to 30 years, in addition to a grace period of five to ten years. As such, the accredited entity who shall oversee the funding of this project is the none other than the IMF since this project falls under the goals intended by the Cedar Conference.