Industrialists offer to build power stations. Sabounjian welcomes initiative, said he will refer it to Cabinet - Lebanon

Industrialists offer to build power stations
Sabounjian welcomes initiative,
said he will refer it to Cabinet
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The industrial sector is ready to provide more electrical power for the country, according to Neemat Frem, president of the Association of Lebanese Industries (ALI).

The ALI will forward its proposal to the Ministry of Industry which will submit it to Cabinet for discussion. The Minister of Industry Vrej Sabounjian was supportive of the proposal. “We encourage such initiatives, especially from big industries,” the minister said.

Industrialists are offering to build a 50-Megawatt power station and connect its output to the national grid. Frem said the private sector can offer power at costs and standards similar to those offered by foreign power-generating vessels. The government last month signed a contract with Turkish firm Karadeniz to lease two power-ships to provide the country with 270 Megawatt for three years at $0.6 per kilowatt-hour.

“The proposed power station will deliver electricity at a price ten percent lower than that in the Turkish offer,” said Michel Daher, an ALI board member. Building the station will cost around $50 million.

“All industrialists will be interested in such a project if the government pledges to buy the power generated,” said Daher. He said factories that produce their own power can sell the surplus to EDL.

Industries are only allowed to generate power for their own use. The 2002 electricity law had outlined the liberalization of the energy sector, that would allow the private sector to produce electricity under the aegis of a regulatory authority. So far, power generation is restricted to State-owned EDL, the private sector can only undertake distribution and maintenance activities.

The first power-generating vessel is set to arrive in port a in a hundred days. The second will follow 60 days later. Daher said that even with the power provided by the ships, additional power sources will still be needed. The ships will only provide 270MW but the country's overall energy need is for 1,500MW, he said.

The industrialists’ proposal needs to pass through the Ministry of Energy and Water. If okayed, the plan would be referred to Cabinet for final approval.

Reported by Rania Ghanem
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Date Posted: Aug 03, 2012