Lebanese Electricity Sector

I do remember year 1990, the first day in my whole life as a 7 years old, to see the feeble light coming out of the old lamps in my house. That was a big deal, why? Because that was the day electricity was restored to my village after 15 years of bloody dark civil war.

Though the electricity at that time had a severe voltage drop enough to have the TV producing half a screen, fridge not to work at all, and certainly our Attary console to be useless, we were happy to see an improvement, we were happy to see the lights on, without hearing the roaring noise of our private motor.

Well… it is 2011 now… things have improved a lot since then. Now we do get around 18 hours of electricity per day and every electrical appliance in the house works quite perfectly. If we look at things from this perspective, things do look pretty good. But guys lets not be too optimistic, the numbers might show a different story…

I’m going to discuss this from several aspects:

1- Growth of the Electricity Sector In Lebanon

The chart below plots the total KWH produced per year in Lebanon

[plotcurve “EG.ELC.PROD.KH” “LBN_KWH_PROD” “LBN” “LineChart”]

Impressive numbers, Lebanon produced less than 600 Million KWH in 1990, but is producing more than 9000 Million KWH in 2010. Statistically, this means that Lebanon will have enough power generation for its population, however, the scary part is that the development since 1997 till 2010 doesn’t account for more than million 1500 KWH, which is a huge slow down compared to the rate of progress from 1990 till 1997.

2- Lebanon compared to other Countries:

According the world bank, the average lebanese consumes 2,154 KWH per year, which is abundant compared to the developing world countries, such as Tanzania 82 KWH per capita, Tunasia 1,248 KWH per capita, Panama 1,592 KWH per capita and Vietnam with 728 KWH per capita. However this is much lower than the average KWH consumed by rich and industrialized developed countries such as United States of America with 13,638 KWH per capita, Sweden with 15,238 KWH per Capita and QATAR with 12,915 KWH per Capita Per Year.

(All number above taken from the world bank website: http://data.worldbank.org/indicator/EG.USE.ELEC.KH.PC)

3- Clean Energy

With all the recent talks in the political arena on the use of Coal as a source of energy to generate electricity, with all the renewed and strengthened fears of nuclear power after the recent tragic incidents in Japan, what is the situation in Lebanon?

In 1968, Lebanon generated approximately 60 % of its electrical power from hydraulic sources. What has changed since then? The generated hydraulic power didnt change much ever since, but the electricity demand has grown drastically due to the increase of population, reducing the percentage of electrical power generated from hydraulic sources to approximately 10%.

The chart below plots the KWH produced per year in Lebanon from hydraulic sources

[plotcurve “EG.ELC.HYRO.KH” “LBN_KWH_HYDRO” “LBN” “LineChart”]

The chart below plots the percentage of electrical energy produced from hydraulic sources

[plotcurve “EG.ELC.HYRO.ZS” “LBN_PERCENTAGE_HYDRO” “LBN” “LineChart”]

Does the Electrical Sector Electricity Production curve correspond to that of the population increase?
[plotcurve “SP.POP.TOTL” “LBN_TOT_POP” “LBN” “LineChart”]

Lebanon is a touristic country, which relies on its beautiful nature and friendly atmosphere to attract tourists from all over the world. Doesn’t hydraulic power generation seem to be the right way to go? A lot might argue that the initial investments are too high, but long term the hydraulic power generation is the solution.

  • Instead of dark smoke, you will have beautiful lakes of waters behind the dams which stores it, and instead of ugly coal power plants
  • The same water stored in the damns from the rainy seasons of lebanon, can be used to generate water and reused for agriculture all through the summer.
  • No ongoing cost of coal or oil, it means cheaper electricity for the Lebanese community, agriculture, industry and tourism.If you agree with my ideas, please share them, and save the nature of lebanon, or whatever is remaining from it.