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Qatar’s offer to build 3 power plants to ease Lebanon’s electricity crisis is blocked

by YINTOM 01 Jul 2024 0 commentaires
Qatar’s offer to build 3 power plants to ease Lebanon’s electricity crisis is blocked

Updated 7:57 PM GMT+8, May 30, 2024

BEIRUT (AP) Lebanons political class, fuel companies and private electricity providers blocked an offer by gas-rich Qatar to build three renewable energy power plants to ease the crisis-hit nations decades-old electricity crisis, Lebanese caretaker economy minister said Thursday.

Lebanons electricity crisis worsened after the countrys historic economic meltdown began in October 2019. Power cuts often last for much of the day, leaving many reliant on expensive private generators that work on diesel and raise pollution levels.

Although many people have installed solar power systems in their homes over the past three years, most use it only to fill in when the generator is off. Cost and space issues in urban areas have also limited solar use.

Qatar offered in 2023 to build three power plants with a capacity of 450 megawatts or about 25% of the small nations needs and since then, Doha didnt receive a response from Lebanon, caretaker Economy Minister Amin Salam said.

Lebanons energy minister, Walid Fayyad, responded in a news conference held shortly afterward that Qatar only offered to build one power plant with a capacity of 100 megawatts that would be a joint venture between the private and public sectors and not a gift as some claim.

Salam said that after Qatar got no response from Lebanon regarding their offer, Doha offered to start with a 100-megawatt plant.

Lebanons political class that has been running the country since the end of 1975-90 civil war is largely blamed for the widespread corruption and mismanagement that led to the countrys worst economic crisis in its modern history. Five years after the crisis began, Lebanons government hasnt implemented a staff-level agreement reached with the International Monetary Fund in 2022 and has resisted any reforms in electricity, among other sectors.

People currently get an average of four hours of electricity a day from the state company, which has cost state coffers more than $40 billion over the past three decades because of its chronic budget shortfalls.

There is a country in darkness that we want to turn its lights on, Salam told reporters in Beirut, saying that during his last trip to Qatar in April, officials in the gas-rich nation asked him about the offer they put forward in January 2023.

The Qatari leadership is offering to help Lebanon, so we have to respond to that offer and give results, Salam said. Had the political leadership been serious in easing the electricity crisis, he said, they would have called for emergency government and parliamentary sessions to approve it.

He blamed cartels and Mafia that include fuel companies and 7,200 private generators that are making huge profits because of the electricity crisis.

We dont want to breathe poison anymore. We are inhaling poison every day, Salam said.

Political bickering is blocking everything in the country, Salam said referring to lack of reforms as well as unsuccessful attempts to elect a president since the term of President Michel Aouns term ended in October 2022.

Lebanon hasnt built a new power plant in decades. Multiple plans for new ones have run aground on politicians factionalism and conflicting patronage interests. The countrys few aging, heavy-fuel oil plants long ago became unable to meet demand.

This article comes from https://apnews.com/. If there is any infringement, please contact us to remove it.

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