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Lebanon set to be linked to regional electricity grid

Copyright (c) 2005 The Daily Star

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

By Bechir Saade
Daily Star staff

BEIRUT: Lebanon will be linked to the regional electricity grid that includes Egypt, Jordan, Syria and Turkey as of the beginning of next year, reducing its electricity bill. This was among the decisions taken during a visit made by Lebanese Energy Minister Mohammad Fneish to his counterpart Hassan Younes in Egypt. Syria, Egypt and Jordan inaugurated a $300 million electricity line linking the grids of the three countries early in 2001. Lebanese, Iraqi and Turkish officials were at the launching ceremony and expressed their desire to be connected to the grid.

"Once connected to the network, the Lebanese will be able to get the best rates from the different electricity regional producers," said energy expert and former consultant to the Energy Ministry Roudi Baroudi, adding that getting on the grid would require increasing the capacity of Ksar and Anjar's substation. "This is already being done."

The electricity grid linkage project also involves the joining of Libya, Iraq and Turkey.

Lebanon and Egypt agreed to create a joint company which will provide with investment opportunities in both countries' electricity sectors.

Egypt offered its technical expertise in issues related to electricity management, getting involved in Lebanese energy projects, training of technicians, and providing sufficient consultancy groups for the Energy Ministry.

Recently, Syria agreed to supply Lebanon with around 120 megawatts of electricity from Tartous' power substation to Deir Nabouh and from Dimas (west of Damascus) to Anjar saving $0.08 per kilowatt hour. This will help Beirut lower its huge losses deriving from inefficient local power plant operations. During his visit to Egypt, Fneish said he was "in a hurry to see this agreement implemented."

Lebanon has been struggling to cope with price increases in oil and oil derivatives by approaching various Arab countries to seek agreements that could potentially reduce its energy bills.

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