Lebanon in total darkness
The management of the electricity sector has been disastrous over the past decades. Despite contributing almost half of the public debt (nearly $40-50 billion in total), EDL is bankrupt and still unable to supply the country with energy. Recently, the situation has deteriorated rapidly and electricity is only supplied for a few hours a day. Lebanon, which is bankrupt, is also short of foreign currency for the import of its fuel and the maintenance of its power plants.

The current production capacity comes almost exclusively from private generators and polluting power plants, running on fossil fuels (diesel and heavy fuel oil) and mainly present on the Lebanese coast, near urban areas. According to Greenpeace, this pollution tragically places Lebanon at the top of the list of countries in the Middle East with the highest death rate per capita, with nearly 2,700 deaths per year on average, victims of diseases related to the production of this highly polluting energy.

So what are the best solutions to reverse this catastrophic situation?

To rebuild its economy, industry and agriculture on a productive and sustainable basis, Lebanon must adopt a visionary and ambitious energy transition, based on the production of local, economical and clean energy.

Renewable energies and new technologies offer this unique opportunity today. Solar and wind power are the cheapest and cleanest energies today. Hydroelectricity will complement this production with the rehabilitation of existing dams and the exploitation of the country’s capacity for hydro-pumping.

Levelized Energy Cost Comparison - Unsubsidized Analysis - LAZARD Oct. 20

Renewable energies will be able to meet, in all regions of the country, nearly 40 to 50% of the country’s total energy consumption in the next five to ten years. This production will allow the closure of most of the factories on the coast. Only two large gas-fired plants will provide base load capacity.

The new energy model will also have to be holistic, integrating energy efficiency and loss reduction with grid modernization and intelligent energy demand management. It will also have to adopt flexible and social pricing of electricity, manage and promote the rapid development of electric cars.

A drastic reform of this sector has become a priority for the rapid adoption of this new energy model. It will have as its pillars the rapid appointment of an independent regulatory authority, the adoption of modern laws and regulations and the major restructuring of Electricité du Liban. These reforms will allow the opening of the electricity generation market to the private sector and the development of new services for consumers. Moreover, in this area, which is plagued by corruption, drastic transparency and anti-corruption measures will have to be put in place.

The new plan will have a significant impact on solving the energy crisis with twice the speed of implementation and a substantial reduction in the country’s energy bill, saving $36 billion over 10 years. It will drastically reduce pollution, cutting CO2 emissions by a factor of three by 2030.

The status quo is no longer an option. Bold execution of a visionary energy plan is now necessary for the country's survival.

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