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  • As the human tragedy of the COVID-19 pandemic worsens, global restrictions to stop the spread of the virus — including stay-at-home orders, business closures and travel prohibitions — may contribute to the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression. The virus has already made an indelible impact on the energy sector: Global energy use is predicted to fall 6% over the course of 2020; the renewable energy industry has not been spared.

    According to Wood Mackenzie estimates, 2020 global solar and energy storage installations are expected to drop nearly 20% compared to pre-COVID-19 projections; wind turbine installations are expected to decline by 4.9 gigawatts (GW), a 6% decrease. Declining renewable energy installations and energy efficiency measures led to 106,000 lost jobs in March alone in the United States, compared to 51,000 drilling and refining jobs lost over the same time period. Analysis shows that 15% of the country’s total clean energy workforce1 could be lost over the coming months — more than a half-million jobs.

    As governments around the world ramp up stimulus packages to create jobs and reflate their economies, two things are clear: 1) We should invest in things that strengthen the health and well-being of our citizens; and 2) We must look at reducing economic and infrastructure vulnerability. Propping up old, polluting industries is not a solution.

    Renewable energy, on the other hand, reduces air pollution, making people less vulnerable to disease. About 4.2 million deaths every year are linked to air pollution and exposure, while a recent Harvard analysis showed that people living in contaminated cities were more likely to die of COVID-19. It can help avoid greenhouse gas emissions and protect communities from dangerous effects of climate change. Renewable energy is the cheapest source of new power generation for more than two-thirds of the world and has no fuel costs. It can reduce the economic burden of energy bills by eliminating fuel charges — especially when coupled with energy-efficiency upgrades in our homes and businesses.

    Now more than ever, it’s vital that countries put renewable energy and other low-carbon technologies at the fore to build back better after COVID-19, creating new jobs and rebooting their economies.

    Prior to the coronavirus outbreak, the world was on a trajectory to shift investment from polluting fossil fuels toward renewable energy: Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) estimated last year that between now and 2050, 77% of investments in new power generation will be in renewables. It’s important that governments and investors treat COVID-19 not as a signal to slow down, but to speed up. New research shows that 75% of Americans are in favor of prioritizing the clean energy industry over the fossil fuel industry in stimulus packages, while 67% support providing financial assistance to renewable energy companies to address the economic crisis.

    Here are three reasons why stimulus packages must include renewable energy investments:

    1. Clean energy yields an economic return 3 to 8 times higher than the initial investment.

    The International Renewable Energy Agency’s (IRENA)  new 2020 Global Renewables Outlook assesses the socioeconomic impact of several scenarios. The “Transforming Energy Scenario” —an ambitious-yet-realistic energy transformation that would limit global temperature rise to well below 2 degrees C (3.6 degrees F)— would cost $19 trillion more than a business-as-usual approach, but would bring benefits worth $50-142 trillion by 2050, growing the world’s GDP by 2.4%. To go one step further, IRENA’s “Deeper Decarbonization Perspective” — which outlines a net-zero-emissions world by 2050-2060 — would cost anywhere between $35-45 trillion, but yield $62-169 trillion in cumulative savings when considering avoided health and social costs from reduced air pollution.

     

     

    This is not only about the renewable energy investment; it is also an investment that mitigates the financial and other risks of climate change. For example, according to data on WRI's Aqueduct platform, by 2030, 2.5 million people and $42 billion in urban property will be impacted annually by coastal flooding driven by climate change, while 30 million people and $79 billion in urban property will be impacted annually due to riverine flooding.

    2. The instability of fossil fuel prices presents a global opportunity to accelerate the shift to clean energy.

    The fossil fuel industry is among the hardest hit by the coronavirus crisis, with leading oil, gas and petrochemical companies losing an average of 45% of their total market value. Since the start of the year, we have seen the sharpest drop in oil demand in a quarter of a century. The price of crude oil in the United States turned negative for the first time in history.

    While lockdown orders have certainly exacerbated the fossil fuel industry’s challenges, this structural collapse was a long time coming. Over the past decade, the fossil fuel industry has spent more money on stock buybacks and dividends than it has brought in in revenue, making energy the worst-performing since 2009 of the 11 sectors in the S&P500. Additionally, some of the world’s largest financial institutions continue to rapidly divest from fossil fuels, recognizing the growing financial risks of carbon-intensive investments. According to the Center for International Environmental Law, this means that “in the medium term, the prospect of a full recovery for many of these revenue streams is, at best, uncertain, and, in many cases, unlikely.”

     

     

    Research shows that the world needs to halve energy-related carbon dioxide emissions by 2030, halve them again by 2040, and then aim for net-zero emissions by 2050 — with substantial reductions beyond — in order to prevent the worst effects of climate change. For economies to build back better and more sustainably, we must start by severing our reliance on fossil fuels.

    Doing this will require eliminating the more than $5.2 trillion in annual subsidies, tax breaks and uncharged external impacts (such as on air pollution and climate) of fossil fuel production and use. It also means addressing industry and transportation — two of the most polluting sectors today, responsible for more than half of all global greenhouse gas emissions.

    To decarbonize industry, we must promote industrial energy diversification into low-carbon technologies such as concentrated solar thermal for hot water, hydrogen or ammonia. Further, to transition the transportation sector away from fossil fuels, we must bolster bus and vehicle electrification efforts and the capacity to charge them with 100% renewable electricity, while also supporting new forms of urban mobility and transit systems. In the wake of COVID-19, global sales of electric vehicles are expected to plunge by more than 40% in 2020. Electric vehicle and bus incentives, along with grid and charging infrastructure, will be needed to put electrification targets back on track.

    3. Ambitious investment in renewable energy and energy efficiency could lead to 63 million new jobs by 2050.

    Today, more than 11 million people work in the renewable energy sector globally, while 3.3 million people work in the energy efficiency industry across the United States and Europe alone. According to the International Energy Agency, most energy-efficiency jobs directly create local employment opportunities within small- and medium-sized businesses.

    Under IRENA’s “Transforming Energy Scenario,” the number of renewable energy jobs worldwide could more than triple, reaching 42 million jobs by 2050, while energy-efficiency jobs would grow six-fold, employing more than 21 million more people over the next 30 years. The job total rises to 100 million when considering the impact on the overall energy sector, including transition-related jobs such as infrastructure and grid flexibility, in addition to conventional technologies including fossil fuels and nuclear energy. By contrast, the fossil fuel industry is expected to lose more than 6 million jobs over the same time period, compared to today’s employment levels.

     

     

    But it’s not enough to just invest in renewable energy. While millions of jobs will be created as we transition towards cleaner forms of energy, the job security of those in fossil fuel industries will be simultaneously put at risk. Starting now, governments must proactively plan for “just transition” strategies for affected workers and diversify economic activities in affected communities. It is essential that we give fossil fuel workers the opportunities to continue working by implementing re-training and educational programs, including for new jobs in renewable energy or energy efficiency. Some of the skill sets amongst these industries already overlap. Workers in the oil and gas industry are particularly well-positioned to make the transition to work in the offshore wind industry, for example, as these sectors share both technologies and supply chain elements.

    A Low-Carbon World After COVID-19

    The decisions world leaders make today will affect the world long after the coronavirus crisis recedes. They are faced with a choice: Reopen economies powered by the failing fuel sources of the past, or jump-start their paths toward a clean, secure and prosperous future. Governments who embrace renewable energy and energy efficiency will not just inject cash into their economies; they will protect their citizens’ health and welfare in a stable, sustainable and resilient world.


    1. Analysis categorizes clean energy in five broad sectors: renewable electric power generation, clean fuels, clean transmission, distribution, and storage, energy efficiency, and alternative transportation. ↩︎

     
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  • Rooftop solar power installations are especially hard hit by social distancing and disruptions to Chinese supplies, as coronavirus ravages the world economy

     

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    Despite a historic deal between major producers to prop up oil prices, cheap fossil fuels and the economic slowdown caused by the coronavirus risk are hampering a shift to renewable energies in 2020.

    The International Energy Agency (IEA) said it is reviewing its October 2019 forecasts that 2020 will be a record year for additions of electricity generation capacity for solar, wind and other clean energies, as well as that total renewable-based power capacity will surge by 50% between 2019 and 2024.

    “There’s a chance that 2020 may not be a record,” said Heymi Bahar, IEA senior analyst of renewable energy markets and policy, told Climate Home News. “Every day we see something either about a new lockdown, or a resuming of some construction activity.”

    Installations of solar photovoltaic (PV) panels on the roofs of businesses and homes, expected to help drive future growth, were hard hit by the economic slowdown. They often require workers to be physically close together to install panels, which is difficult with rules on social distancing to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

    Workers on other projects, such as installing huge wind turbines or building hydropower dams, can typically be further apart.

    Rooftop solar “may sound a bit marginal but represented a fifth of global renewable energy additions in 2018-19 and 40% of solar PV,” he said. Renewables made up 26% of global electricity generation in 2018 and the IEA’s October 2019 forecast of a 50% increase by 2024 would total a 1,200 GW addition to current capacity.

    Disruptions for renewable energy are in the shadow of the far greater turmoil in fossil fuel markets.

    At the weekend, OPEC, Russia and other producers agreed over to cut output by 9.7 million barrels per day (bpd) in May and June, under pressure from US President Donald Trump. The cuts are around 10% of supply before the pandemic, but probably only about half the slump in demand. Cuts are to last until April 2022, with a cut of 5.8 million bpd in the final 16 months.

    Brent crude oil was trading at around $30 a barrel, less than half the price of around $66 at the start of 2020 but up from lows around $25 in early April.

     

    “When you cut around 10 million barrels and the cut you need is 20 to 30 million you are not really doing anything to balance the market,” said Erik Holm Reiso, global head of consulting at Rystad Energy in Oslo. “And it’s not positive for renewables if oil prices are low.”

    Low fossil fuel prices are a threat to a transition to renewables under the 2015 Paris climate agreement, because it may make it less attractive to shift, for instance, from a gasoline-powered car to an electric model, or to raise capital to build a wind farm rather than to extend the life of an existing coal plant.

    Once the worst of the human crisis passes “there will be a new focus on renewables to dig countries out the economic hole after coronavirus. Governments need to incentivise industrial activity. You can direct that – renewables are an obvious way,” he said.

    Andrew Grant of the Carbon Tracker think-tank in London said the unprecedented deal among oil producers was driven by self-interest and did not herald any wider cooperation to confront climate change.

    “We are going to have to come up with a sustainable model [for reducing fossil fuel production] that doesn’t rely on an economic crisis,” he said.

    Emergency stop-gap measures to shore up the oil price were a stark contrast to longer-term efforts to align energy demand with the Paris Agreement, which seeks to cut greenhouse gas emissions to limit droughts, heatwaves, floods, and intense storms.

    Grant estimated that oil demand would have to fall steadily each year by a million barrels per day to get on track for the Paris Agreement.

    Covid-19 lockdowns are disrupting supplies of solar panels, Bahar at the IEA said, because China accounts for 70% of global production, and another 15% comes from Chinese firms operating in other countries in south-east Asia.

    Since late March, however, China has reopened many firms as new infections fell.

    “They are ramping up to meet demand. That’s good news,” he said. But while Chinese ports may be able load panels onto ships for export, foreign ports may be unable to unload them when they arrive because they are closed or operating with reduced capacity.

    He also noted that demand for biofuels, often added as a blend for gasoline in many nations as part of renewable energy goals, was suffering simply because people are driving their cars less.

    The IMF has forecast that the world economy will contract 3% in 2020 because of what it calls the Great Lockdown. That is also likely to depress greenhouse gas emissions this year from record highs in 2019.

    One major challenge is how to spur renewables more than fossil fuels when energy demand picks up, to avoid a rebound in emissions. In the wake of the financial crisis a decade ago, carbon emissions leapt by 5.9% in 2010 after a 1.4% decrease in 2009.

    Bahar said governments could help renewables, for instance in China  and the United States, by extending incentives for connecting solar and wind projects that are due to expire at the end of the year.

    And many governments say that climate change should be at the heart of any post-Covid recovery once short-term measures stabilise the economy.

    Gerard Wynn, an energy finance consultant at the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis, said it may also be time to consider measures such as wider taxes or fees on fossil fuels to help cleaner energy.

    They may be less controversial now because low prices will mute their impact on consumers, if they are pitched by politicians as part of a green recovery package.

    Wynn noted that former vice president Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee to take on Trump in the November election, favours a “Clean Energy Revolution” including prices on carbon.

    For Europe, Wynn calculated that an economy-wide fee of €25 per tonne of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions could raise a dividend worth about €370 ($400) for every household. Such a fee could be imposed at source, such as coal mines, or oil and gas producers, he said. Household energy bills would rise but Wynn estimates that most people would still have money left over to spend.

    “It sounds like a fantasy – but maybe this is a good time to do it?” he told CHN.

     

     


  • Lebanon is blessed with an abundance of water, wind and sun. Yet so far this potential is so far nearly not explored while citizens even in the center of Beirut face daily power cuts of at least three hours. So how could tapping the country’s renewables be an asset for the Government of Lebanon to provide stable electric services throughout the country? . By exploring clean energies, the relevant authorities could hit two birds with one stone in terms of environmental and economic benefits.  Moving towards clean energy would at the same time reduce their dependency on fossil fuels. This transition can also lead to political independence by protecting Lebanon from the impact of changing trends in energy markets.

    We are now witnessing initial breakthroughs in the field with the recent allocation of power purchase agreements (PPAs) to three wind farms in Akkar (Riachi, 2018). However, private investors and other stakeholders still face harsh obstacles in the implementation of renewable energy projects. This study will elaborate on the prospect and the hurdles in the shift to hydraulic, wind and solar energy.

    A Closer Look at Lebanon’s Energy SourcesEDL’s deficit of around $800 million a year requires urgent remedial (Nakad, El Khoury, Arnaout, 2018). Hence, the exploration of renewable energy sources such as wind and solar energy are possible alternatives for the agency. In this section, we will explore the feasibility of integrating sustainable resources to the energy mix through public and private sector partnership.

    With the Current: Hydro Power
    Firstly, hydropower is the most established renewable energy resource in Lebanon and contributes to around 4.5% of the energy mix with a nominal capacity of 280 MW (MEW, 2018). Lebanon is currently looking to expand hydropower with the recent call to “build and operate hydroelectric plant” (MEW, 2018). However, Dr. Kinab, an engineering professor at the Lebanese University and renewable energy expert, explains hydraulic energy production has largely been inconsistent due to intermittent rainfalls and poor maintenance.

     

    In this analysis, the levelised cost of electricity (LCOE) is used as it measures break-even point (Energy Education, 2018). The LCOE of hydropower is estimated to be around $9c per KWH (El Fadel, Hammond, Harajli, Jones, Kabakian, Jones, 2009). The long term viability is confirmed as the levelised cost is inferior to the projected selling price of $12c per KWH to EDL (MEW, 2018).

    Wind Energy
    Wind energy is an untapped resource in Lebanon with extremely restricted production (Kinab, El Khoury, 2012). According to the Wind Atlas published in 2010, Lebanon has the potential to produce approximately 5,400 MW of wind energy (UNDP, 2010). The recently approved tender by the Ministry of Energy and Water (MEW) of 200MW in Akkar is promising for all parties involved. In fact, Electricite du Liban (EDL), the national utility agency, will sell power at a gain and provide stable electric current for around 145,000 households (Riachi, 2018).

    In favorable weather situations, we find the LCOE to be around $7.8c per kilowatt hour (KWH) (Kassis, 2013).  Akkar’s wind farms will sell the KWH for $10.75c which gives them a margin of profit to recover their initial investment (Riachi, 2018). Since the market price is higher than the levelised cost, we infer the profitability of the project. This instance proves the viability of potential wind farms in Lebanon with EDL as prime customer.

    Solar Power
    Solar energy is also a valuable resource in Lebanon. With around 3000 hours of sunshine, the addition of this energy source to the national grid could greatly contribute to the growth of clean energy in Lebanon (Kinab, El Khoury, 2012). Solar energy currently represents around .26% of the country’s energy mix (UNDP, 2017). To grow this energy source, the MEW is launching two separate bids for solar farms with total production capacity of around 450 MW (MEW, 2018).

    According to Dr. Harajli, project manager of CEDRO at the UNDP, the cost of generation of solar energy could reach as low as $6c per KWH in the upcoming bids. This could also contribute to considerable savings in oil expenditures. Given EDL’s average production cost of about $17c per KWH, solar energy is a sustainable alternative for Lebanon with savings of up to $11c per KWH (Bassil, 2010).

    The Way Forward – Navigating the Obstacles

    In a nutshell, the MEW and the LCEC are encouraging private companies to feasibly produce clean energy at a lower cost than conventional power plants. It is imperative to emphasize that the series of PPAs the MEW launched in wind, solar and hydraulic energy do not require any capital investment by the government who will solely purchase electricity to incorporate it in the grid (MEW, 2018). Mr. Allaya, technical manager of distribution at EDL, endorses these initiatives “as they create jobs and reduce CO2 emissions”.

    Lebanon currently suffers from a deficit between supply and demand which stands at around 1,500MW (Deschamps, 2018). Unfortunately, a series of political hurdles have deprived the Lebanese people from enjoying from a steady provision of power. Dr. Harajli deems it to boil down to “the political and sectarian intricacies of the power sector”.

    The strong political influence of generators owners poses a threat to the consistent supply of electricity. The generator’s market size amounts to around $1.5 billion to $2 billion which highlights the magnitude of the business (Dziadosz, 2018). The strong relationships the owners built with key governmental officials are a major hindrance to the growth of conventional and renewable energy production.

    The GoL needs to revamp its functional process to provide additional incentives to the private sector in the development of renewable energy (Colthorpe, 2018). In fact, Dr. Harajli considers the political disagreements within the Council of Ministers (CoM) as a burden to a stronger support for clean energy. Similarly, Dr. Kinab argues the large-scale production of renewable energy on a national level requires a robust political support.

    Certain progress was achieved with the planned erection of wind farms in Akkar. Nonetheless, Lebanese citizens will continue to assume the consequences of the sector’s inefficiency in the absence of a stronger political will to encourage sustainable energy.

    The poor management of the national grid impedes the growth of renewable energy. In effect, EDL is severely understaffed in functional areas which affects the running of the organization. Furthermore, Mr. Allaya, pointed out that the grid suffers from technical losses and non-technical losses which prevent it from “digesting the bulk of renewable energy generation”.

    Similarly, Dr. Harajli affirms the ambitious launch of several PPAs by the MEW do not account for crucial improvements needed in the operation of the grid. He drew attention on the take-or-pay clauses which entail EDL will still have to assume payment in the instance the grid cannot absorb the power supplied.

    Given the favorable meteorological conditions, it is clear that the problem lies within the inefficient governmental management of the energy sector. This is translated by ineffective pricing policies and allocation of subsidies to EDL. Dr. Harajli stressed the agency’s monopoly over the market makes it difficult for private providers to compete and encumbers the quality of services. In fact, the extremely affordable pricing of electricity from governmental subsidies renders the emergence of other energy sources unfeasible (Kinab, El Khoury, 2012).

    The Legal and Political Framework for Renewables in Lebanon

    In 2002, the GoL issued Law 462 which stipulates that IPP can participate in the production of electricity through licenses awarded by an Energy Regulatory Authority (ERA) (MEW, 2002). While Lebanon ratified legal and policy frameworks to grow renewable energy, Mr. Allaya asserts “we need stronger implementation mechanisms to attract investors”.

    Dr. Harajli portrayed the legal mechanism the MEW employed in PPAs: “as Law 462 is not fully implemented and no ERA was formed, the CoM and the Parliament amended the statute as Law 288 and Law 54”. In order to continue its line of work in renewable energy, the MEW is currently asking for an extension of the law whilst giving the private sector exclusivity in the production of renewable energy.

    In the wake of its application, Mr. Allaya explains: “the licensing prerogative is currently managed by the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Energy and Water who launch bids upon approval by the CoM”. Thus, administrative reforms are necessary for a more efficient licensing process and dynamic power sector. The absence of a regulatory body to manage counterparty and political risks resulted in high equity and debt costs for investors (UNDP, 2017).

    Besides, the recent adoption of the Energy Conservation Law by the CoM propels the LCEC as the national energy agency to assume several functions (NEEAP, 2016). In fact, Dr. Kinab highlighted the important role of the agency in promoting the transition to sustainable energy.

    The GoL promised to include 12% of renewables in its energy mix by 2020 in 2009 (MEW, 2018). Subsequently, the CoM adopted action plans in 2011 and 2016 in order to set a roadmap to grow renewables (NEEAP, 2011, 2016). This was followed by the adoption of net metering measures in 2011 by EDL which enables the back and forth transfer of clean energy from the national grid to participating subscribers (Berjawi, Najem, Four, Abdallah, Ahmad, 2017). In effect, in the case of a power surplus, the grid absorbs the surplus of power. Similarly, in the case of a shortage of power, EDL injects power back to the users.

    Net metering is an important step in the promotion of clean energy. In fact, it can generate savings for subscribers on their renewable energy surplus transferred to the grid (Berjawi, Najem, Four, Abdallah, Ahmad, 2017). However, this initiative is partially operational as described by Mr. Allaya: “it requires the continuous availability of the grid to synchronize the transfer of excess production”.

    The LCEC laid the groundwork for affordable funding for clean energy projects in Lebanon in collaboration with the Banque du Liban (BDL). This led to the birth of a financing platform called the “National Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Action” (NEEREA) (LCEC, 2018). The financial mechanism aims to support energy efficiency and renewable energy throughout Lebanon.

    Mr. Stephan, who works in green financing at Kafalat Energy, pointed out clean energy projects can qualify for loans at an interest rate of 2.5%. The advantageous financing offered by the GoL supports economic viability through faster paybacks period. However, the lack of political continuity and ongoing disagreements within the Council of Ministers prevents the significant progress achieved by NEEREA and the PPAs (Berjawi, 2017).

    In order to effectively incorporate renewables to the energy mix, all interviewees repeatedly stressed important enhancements must be made to the grid and EDL’s operations.

    Mr. Allaya depicted the situation at EDL: “The institution has a deficit covered every year by the GoL with transfers of up to $2 billion”. In fact, the subsidized price of electricity leads to considerable annual losses. EDL’s average cost of production per KWH is of $17.14c while it is sold at around $9.4c (Dagher, Ruble, 2011). Hence, along with Dr. Harajli, Mr. Allaya commended an increase in retail prices. EDL could then channel funds to upgrade its capacity to incorporate renewable energy to the grid.

    A pricing revision will enable the utility agency to progressively cover its deficit and gradually dissolve the generator’s market (Ruble, Nader, 2011). Nonetheless, Mr. Osseiran, the generation advisor of the Ministry of Energy and Water, pinpointed “EDL falls under the authority of the government as a public institution. Consequently, this policy requires the backing of the Council of Ministers which is currently unwilling to implement it”.

    Thus, EDL is a bottleneck and reforms must imperatively be put in place to decongest the power sector. Dr. Harajli suggests instilling a private and accountable management to optimize productivity and improve the grid. Under the current administration, it is difficult to hold any individual responsible due to political interferences. The corporatization of EDL would enable the agency to independently develop a solid infrastructure and reasonable pricing policies. However, Mr. Allaya underlines “the privatization of EDL necessitates the institution to be financially sustainable hence the importance of increasing tariffs”.

    As prices from other energy sources become more competitive, EDL will be able to purchase power from local providers to better accommodate renewable energy. The PPA in Akkar is a prime example on the feasibility of such an initiative. The GoL currently produces and sells power at a loss. Conversely, EDL will purchase the KWH at $10.75c from Akkar’s wind farms to later sell it for a profit at $12.75c (Riachi, 2018).

    1. Application of Law 462

    The application of Law 462 and the creation of an ERA is an important step in the reform of the power sector. Dr. Harajli states that “the establishment of this law aimed to unbundle the power sector with the involvement of private producers and an authority to regulate the market”. The regulatory body would be responsible of licensing with no interference from the MEW in order to encourage a decentralized generation of power within the boundaries of the law.

    Mr. Osseiran, from the MEW, advocates for the inception of an ERA in the near future with the push by the MEW and LCEC to grow renewable energy. The advisor to the minister states: “the presence of a third party would facilitate the coordination of the different PPA’s in the spectrum of their integration to the national grid”.

    Thus, the full implementation of Law 462 will help Lebanon move away from a centralized distribution of power. Mr. Stephan endorses this policy as it reverses the dynamics of the power sector. In effect, private producers wishing to supply clean energy would now directly apply for licenses at a regulatory authority.

    1. Feed-in-tariff and Private Production

    Due to the high expenditures associated with the consumption of electricity, stakeholders from the private sector are looking into the prospect of clean energy. In effect, Dr. Harajli and Mr. Stephan affirmed that there is potential for companies from the industrial and agricultural sectors to hybridize solar energy with fuel generators in times of shortages.

    As a matter of fact, financial savings from the installation of solar panels amounted to $16.2M in 2016 which cements the position of solar energy as a cost-effective alternative to diesel generators (UNDP, 2017). However, Mr. Stephan points out: “the financial viability of green energy can be further reinforced with the implementation of measures such as feed-in-tariff”. In effect, it would enable IPP to sell the totality of their excess production to EDL and have shorter payback periods. Nevertheless, Mr. Stephan elaborates by stating “feed-in-tariff is only viable if we have a consistent supply of electricity as energy producers can only export power to the grid when it is online”.

    The combination of Law 462 and progressive policies underline the viability of private power generation. In effect, it paves the way for EDL to enact feed-in-tariffs in order to incentivize households and businesses to install small renewable energy facilities. However, Mr. Stephan and Mr. Allaya boldly underline that the effective growth of clean energy is contingent on a reliable and stable grid which provides power to its users at all times.

    Conclusion

    To conclude, renewable energy is a feasible power source given Lebanon’s geographical and meteorological landscape. It still needs to clear the political hurdle in order for more projects like Akkar’s wind farms to see the light. In effect, green energy will truly take off when EDL provides consistent power to all its subscribers. Dr. Kinab confirms this as “the price of electricity will not go up unless EDL insures 24/7 service for its users”. Hence, the fate of alternative sources of energy are directly related to the production of conventional power. While clean energy cannot completely alleviate Lebanon’s electricity troubles, it can contribute to the growth of the economy and decrease pollution levels. List of symbols and units

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    BDL: Banque du Liban

    CoM: Council of Ministers

    EDL: Electricite du Liban

    ERA: Energy Regulatory Authority

    GoL: Government of Lebanon

    IPP: Independent power producers

    KWH: Kilowatt hour

    LCEC: Lebanese Center for Energy Conservation

    LCOE: Levelised cost of electricity

    NEEREA: National Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Action

    NEEAP: National Energy Efficiency Action Plan

    LCEC: Lebanese Center for Energy Conservation

    MW: Megawatt

    MEW: Ministry of Energy and Water

    PPA: Power purchase agreement

    UNDP: United Nations Development Programme