New Law Empowers Local Renewable Energy in Lebanon

Renewable Energy

In a landmark move, the Lebanese Parliament officially approved the Distributed Renewable Energy Production Law No. 318 in December 2023. The law approval came into effect after LIMS’ relentless advocacy for private sector participation in renewable energy production at the municipal level, a cause championed through project PRISM – Private Initiative to Service Municipalities.

The execution of PRISM unfolded between August and December 2023, during which LIMS orchestrated three impactful town hall meetings held at the chambers of commerce in Beirut, Tripoli, and Jounieh. These gatherings brought together a diverse array of stakeholders, including Members of Parliament, municipal leaders, business associations, private sector representatives, and civil society members, fostering a collaborative environment crucial for advancing the cause. In tandem with these engagements, LIMS made its mark through a media blitz, delivering 130 interviews and media mentions to promote the reform. This comprehensive approach underscored LIMS’ commitment to not only shaping policy but also to engaging and mobilizing key players across various sectors.

The passage of Law No. 318 is a step forward in Lebanon’s journey towards a resilient and dynamic energy sector as it confirms the importance ending the monopoly of state-owned Electricité du Liban (EDL). The law also acknowledges the need for engaging the private sector in renewable energy and streamlines the legal framework for private renewable energy production on the municipal level.

However, LIMS added that this legislative measure alone is not sufficient to attract private investment into the renewable energy market and might be hindered by two challenges. Firstly, authorization requires approval from the yet-to-be-appointed Electricity Regulation Authority (ERA). Secondly, producers must sell their electricity through EDL, which faces inefficiencies and struggles with bill collection.

While the establishment of the ERA remains crucial, LIMS proposed that in the meantime, granting municipalities temporary authority to license local renewable energy projects would stimulate immediate investments. Additionally, until EDL becomes fully operational, allowing renewable energy producers to sell electricity directly via local microgrids would bypass current EDL challenges. These temporary measures could serve as a bridge towards a more robust and efficient renewable energy sector in Lebanon.

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