The Akkar project is for three wind farms with a potential output of 300 MW. AFP / PHILIPPE HUGUEN
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Permits for Lebanon's first large-scale wind farms were approved in a Cabinet session Wednesday, marking a significant step in the growth of the country's expanding renewable energy sector.Despite controversy over the proposal of a new energy plan to deal with Lebanon's chronic power shortage, originally put forward seven years ago by Gebran Bassil and championed again when current Energy Minister Cesar Abi Khalil was appointed in December 2016, renewable energy projects remain relatively noncontentious.Renewable energy is a quietly growing success story in Lebanon, with Khoury noting that over the past 12 years Lebanon has become one of the top countries in the Arab world in terms of renewable energy.This is echoed in a statement made earlier this week by Central Bank Gov. Riad Salameh at a ceremony marking the first year of an initiative to engage the private sector in tackling climate change.He noted that Lebanon spends "no less than $6 billion" on a yearly basis to import energy, but that this could be cut by 10-20 percent with the use of available technologies. This is echoed in the country's seven-year renewable energy strategy, with an objective of reaching 12 percent by 2020, based on solar, wind, tidal and biomass sources divided down 25 percent per sector.
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