Lebanon has a portfolio of 14 renewable energy projects totaling 375 megawatts (MW) that have been licensed and are looking for funding, Minister of Energy and Water Walid Fayad said.

“There are 11 solar projects worth 165 MW and three wind projects worth 210 MW that have been given licenses, but the problem is financing. Funding through local banks is not available and funding through international banks is predicated on going ahead with the IMF programme.”

“In order to unlock the funding, we must reform electricity tariff. The other issues are security of investment, recovery of investment from a macroeconomic and financial sector perspective,” he said while speaking at Siemens’ MEA Energy Week.

He said the government has set a 30 percent renewable energy production target by 2030 and lifted energy subsidies, opening the space for private sector to fund these energy projects.

“It’s up to the market to prioritise the available opportunities,” he noted,

On gas deals

Commenting on the status of the gas and electricity deals signed between Egypt, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon this year, Fayad said: “The US administration is supportive of these strategic deals. The US representatives have assured to work towards getting a final assurance from the US administration about the Caesar Act’s non-sanctionable status of these contracts…. as well as support in financing through the World Bank. We now have a letter of assurance in principal but are waiting for final assurance from the US and for the funding from the World bank for these strategic projects.”

Last week, Lebanon, Syria and Egypt signed a US-backed deal to ship 650 million cubic metres of natural gas per year from Egypt to Lebanon via Syria that could add four hours of extra power to Lebanon’s grid, saving the country from blackouts.

Earlier this year, Lebanon had signed a deal with Jordan to procure up to 250 MW of electricity through Syria, which was then expected to get a green light from the US authorities by end-February.

(Writing by Sowmya Sundar; Editing by Anoop Menon)