BEIRUT: Energy Minister Gebran Bassil said major renovations in the Zouk and Jiyyeh power plants would begin at the end of this month, after the ministry secured funding through Arab loans. The minister said the project would gradually restore the output of the Zouk plant to its original 614 megawatt capacity, adding around 300 MW to the national grid.
The project will be covered through soft loans from the Kuwait-based Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development, the minister added.
Bassil’s statements came at a news conference held at the Zouk power plant over the weekend to announce the launch of another project aimed at cutting emissions and toxic gases produced by the plant.
According to Kamal Hayek, general director of state-run electricity provider Electricite du Liban, the firm has commissioned a private company to build chemical treatment units for fuel oil consumed at the plant.
He said the chemical additives will cut emissions of solid particles and gases including sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide and carbon dioxide by ratios ranging from 15 to 90 percent.
“The chemical treatment of fuel oil can also contribute in increasing fuel efficiency by at least 1 percent. This would save around $5 million annually,” Hayek added.
Last month, Lebanon saw some of its worst power rationing in years, as citizens complained blackouts were lasting up to 20 hours a day outside the capital, where rationing remains at three hours a day.
Power supply only improved slightly after EDL completed repairs at different plants.
According to a statement issued by EDL last month, Lebanon’s power stood at 1,200 MW per day but would be increased to 1,600 MW, if all maintenance on plants were completed.
Local demand for electricity soars above 2,600 MW particularly in summer, when power consumption is much higher. Even if EDL manages to shore up its supply to 1,600 MW, electricity deficit would remain in excess of 1,000 MW.