Wind Farms to Solve Lebanon's Eternal Electricity Issue

Published July 17th, 2018 - 11:10 GMT
From left, Kamal Hayek, Cesar Abi Khalil and Hikmat Dib attend a press conference in Beirut, Monday, July 17, 2018. (The Daily Star)
From left, Kamal Hayek, Cesar Abi Khalil and Hikmat Dib attend a press conference in Beirut, Monday, July 17, 2018. (The Daily Star)

Caretaker Energy Minister Cesar Abi Khalil said Monday that his ministry has signed an agreement with the private sector in Lebanon to buy electricity from the power generated from the wind farms once they are built.

Speaking at a news conference in the presence of FPM MP Hikmat Dib and director general of the state-owned Electricite du Liban, the minister disclosed details about the wind farm project.

He added that this project is an achievement and consists of three stages: Declaration of Intent, tender and negotiations.

“The project was launched in September 2012 and then a ministerial committee was formed in 2014 headed by the prime minister, including representatives of the Energy and Water, Finance, Environment, Justice Ministries and EDL.

He added that the ministry brought in several consultants who helped it to reach a price of 10.75 cents per kilowatts, and submitted the report to the Cabinet, which agreed to this price.

“We can get better terms and the international financial institutions have asked for some amendments to the contracts signed on Feb. 1 to secure better financing conditions. We have stipulated that any amendment to the contract should benefit the EDL, and after we took the decision to amend the contract, the price was reduced to 10.45 cents in the first three years, to be reduced again to 9.6 for the remaining 17 years of the contract,” the minister said.

Abi Khalil also said that the weather conditions have prevented the Turkish power barge from docking in the southern coastal town of Jiyyeh Monday, a day after its arrival to Lebanon.

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The barge, set to provide 200 megawatts of electricity, was prevented from entering the premises of Jiyyeh’s power plant, where a second power barge, also owned and operated by Turkish company Karadeniz Holding, has already been moored since 2013.

Earlier in the day, the state-run National News Agency reported that the boat was prevented from docking by “concerned authorities” because it did not have a permit.

But Abi Khalil said at a news conference later that “the problem ... was caused by the weather and high wind speed ... the captain of the ship told us there was danger [posed to the barge].”

This means the new Karadeniz barge, which according to Abi Khalil is set to provide the 200 MW of electricity for free for three months, has been unable to connect to the Lebanese electricity grid.

The barge’s arrival Sunday sparked anger and consternation from Jiyyeh’s residents, with Jiyyeh Mayor George Kazzi saying he was confused by the decision to dock the barge there instead of in Zahrani in the south. “We were surprised today when we saw this huge ship heading toward us. They told us it would be placed in Zahrani,” he told The Daily Star Sunday.


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