Research Funded by Heinrich Boell Foundation:
Promoting Renewable Energies in Lebanon through awareness and lobbying for legal reform
Background and rationale
Conventional energy production and consumption have serious negative impacts on the environment. The dependence on energy to maintain life and the increased urbanization have led to the increase in consumption of fossil fuels for the production of energy resulting in the increased production of greenhouse gas emissions with it adverse impacts on the climate. The adoption and promotion of renewable energy technologies (RET) ensure sustainable global benefits in terms of long-term reductions in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from burning fossil fuels, thus reducing air pollution and slowing the process of climate change. In Lebanon, the energy policy adopted by the consecutive governments is fully based on the use of fossil fuel namely Residual Fuel Oil which is among the most polluting petroleum by-products. The main barrier to the adoption of renewable energy technologies is the lack of Political Will to do so and the lack of a strategic planning approach focusing on the sustainability of development. At the energy policy level, the Lebanese government totally follows the Arab League’s positions which are heavily influenced by oil producing countries, especially Saudi Arabia, which clearly has been hindering renewable energy development. The development of an appropriate renewable energy and energy efficiency policy and legislation is a crucial step for any serious take on renewable energy. Another important barrier for the development of renewable energy is the lack of awareness on the importance and potential of renewable energy as well as the lack of accurate data and research on the different aspects of the subject. For renewable energy investment to take off, the feasibility of the different renewable energy technologies needs to be properly assessed for every potential source in the different regions of Lebanon.
Objectives and Planned Activities
As such and as a follow up to the work renewable energies project initiated in 2006 and 2007, Green Line intended in 2008 to focus its work on the awareness component and legal component leading to the promotion of renewable energies.
The project’s objectives for 2008 are mainly to:
• Raise awareness on the negative effects of conventional energy production and consumption and familiarize citizens with currently available and easily accessible renewable energy technologies through disseminating knowledge regarding their economic and environmental benefits • Working towards removing the legal barriers to the expanded and sustainable use of renewable energy technologies
The planned activities for 2008 include:
• Raising awareness on alternative energy options through undergoing a cost benefit analysis of SWH installed in 2007 in Southern villages, organizing meetings with neighboring municipalities and agencies responsible for the reconstruction of neighboring villages to promote these technologies, developing and disseminating fact sheets on the use and benefits of these systems when meeting with villagers, farmers, parliamentarians and other stakeholders, developing and broadcasting two TV clips/spots on the benefits of RET and energy saving, and holding one public seminar to disseminate information on RET as an alternative • Promoting legal change through identifying legal barriers to the implementation of RET and explore measures to overcome identified barriers, holding awareness seminars for policy and decision makers in the field of renewable energy focusing mainly on the legislative component, and drafting proposals of renewable energy legislation.
Project Achievements to Date
During the first six months of 2008, the project team focused on the following activities: • Continuous follow up and monitoring of the installed solar water heating systems (SWH) in South Lebanon • Analyze the economic benefits of the renewable energy technologies