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Lebanon moving toward renewable energy

[photo]
Pierre Khoury, acting project manager for the Lebanese Center for Energy Conversation, outlines a new government plan to move toward 12 percent renewable energy by 2020, during an LAU lecture.

[photo]
The presentation was a part of a series of guest lectures presented this semester during the Environmental Science class taught by Dr. Ahmad Houri, associate professor of chemistry at LAU.

April 23, 2010—

A representative from the Lebanese Center for Energy Conversation, the country’s national energy agency, outlined a new government plan to move toward 12 percent renewable energy by the year 2020, during a lecture at LAU Beirut on April 13.

Pierre Khoury, the acting project manager for LCEC, said a committee of legal experts has drafted a law to reach the goal by focusing on the development of solar water heaters and energy-efficient lights.

According to him, the law will soon be presented to the government and passed on to parliament for approval — the legislative body has committed to passing it within a time frame of three months.

“The goal is feasible,” Khoury said, “but you need a lot of teamwork.”

To achieve the goal, Khoury explained, Lebanon has taken part in a five-year global initiative with five other countries, called the GEF Global SWH Project, in which each country has made a commitment to reduce energy demand by focusing on specific areas.

For its part, Lebanon will install 190,000 square meters of solar thermal collectors used to heat water by 2014, with an annual sales target of 50,000 square meters by that year. By 2020, the plan has set a target to installing a total area of 1,050,000 square meters of solar thermal collectors.

“We need to create a momentum to leverage at least $100 million of investment in order to achieve that,” Khoury said.

“Banks are an essential player to develop this market. They are ready to invest in environmental projects in Lebanon, however, the problem is at the level of awareness,” Khoury added, explaining that banks have very little experience and knowledge dealing with environmental projects.

According to Khoury, about a dozen government and non-government agencies and institutions are involved in the plan including the ministries of Energy and Water, Finance, and Environment, the Electricité du Liban, the Council of Ministers, and the Parliament’s Energy Committee.

Khoury also gave an overview of a plan to phase out traditional incandescent light bulbs in the country by replacing roughly three million incandescent bulbs in homes and offices throughout the country with efficient compact fluorescent lamps. The plan calls for a ban on importing incandescent lights bulbs by 2012.

The presentation was a part of a series of guest lectures presented this semester during the Environmental Science class taught by Dr. Ahmad Houri, associate professor of chemistry at LAU, who is also the president of the Lebanese Solar Energy Society, and Euro Arab Chair of Renewable Energy 2009.

During an introduction to Khoury’s presentation, Houri said that 90-95 percent of the electricity used to light a standard incandescent light bulb is wasted in the form of heat. “Do you turn on a light bulb because you want heat or because you want light?” Houri asked the class.

He noted that replacing a standard bulb with a fluorescent one would save half a ton of carbon dioxide from being released into the atmosphere over the lifespan of the light bulb.

New renewable energy production will be needed in Lebanon to reach the 12 percent goal by 2020, Khoury said, in the form of wind farms, concentrated solar power plants, hydroelectric power and others.

He also announced a plan by LCEC to give “great attention” to the issue of feeding in electricity to the national electricity grid. Currently, Electricité du Liban holds a monopoly on electricity sales in the country making it impossible for private parties to produce and sell electricity.

“Our electricity problem in Lebanon would be solved with one power plant,” Houri said in his introductory remarks, noting that Lebanon has not seen a power plant built since 1996. “We want one power plant, and we would have enough electricity for everyone.”


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