The electricity crisis in Lebanon disappears from the agenda of parliamentary election candidates - Energy

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  • Parties fear losing a fan base due to the most complex crisis
  • Slogans of confronting economic collapse and corruption dominated the candidates’ agenda
  • Candidates view climate change issues as not essential to the Lebanese street
  • Calls to switch to renewable energy to solve the electricity crisis in Lebanon

The main issues – particularly the electricity crisis in Lebanon and climate change – were absent from the candidates’ programs in the Lebanese elections scheduled to take place next Sunday, as the political parties and forces that are struggling to win the largest number of seats have failed to provide realistic solutions to many crises.

The electricity crisis did not find its place among politicians and competing parties, after it was the talk of the political street in recent months, following the significant decline in production, which led to power outages in the country for several days before returning for only two hours a day.

The parties are afraid of offering solutions to the country’s biggest crises, which have eluded many governments, which may withdraw their credit from the Lebanese voter, as well as climate issues, which caused floods and fires that inflicted heavy losses on the country.

climate crisis

A number of candidates in the Lebanese elections said that the climate is not a concern for voters who are facing crises at all levels, and with public discontent with the economic collapse and rampant corruption in the country.

The candidates see climate change as an important and fateful issue, but in Lebanon there are more pressing issues, which is why they put this problem aside, Reuters reported in a report on Thursday.

The electoral platforms of the major parties were devoid of any climate policy actions or plans ahead of the elections scheduled for 15 May.

Hezbollah and its allies won about 71 of parliament’s 128 seats in the previous elections in 2018.

The financial crisis

The upcoming elections are the first since the start of the financial crisis in October 2019 that sparked widespread protests across the country, pushing nearly 75% of the population into poverty, leading to shortages in medicine and fuel and electricity for only a few hours a day. .

The World Bank described the economic crisis in Lebanon as one of the worst financial crises the world has seen in 150 years.

Many experts and activists believe that renewable energy projects – such as solar energy, and the adoption of other policies to protect the environment – may help provide long-term solutions to some of the main problems facing the country, and may provide future protection from political and economic shocks.

Electricity in LebanonRenewable energy

Carol Ayat, an energy finance expert at the American University of Beirut, said, “The deployment of renewable energy has several advantages, including creating job opportunities, reducing air pollution, and reducing dependence on fossil fuels.”

“This will help protect the economy from any emergency and external deterioration in the energy sector by reducing imports of fossil fuels, which are a key factor in the current crisis,” she added.

The economic collapse in Lebanon began in 2019, as a result of mismanagement of spending, which led to an increase in debt in addition to political paralysis with competing political factions and the reluctance of foreign lenders to save the country unless reform measures are initiated.

Electricity crisis in Lebanon
Protests against the situation in Lebanon – archive

Electricity shortage in Lebanon

The country has not had 24-hour continuous electricity in decades, but the latest economic crisis has made the situation worse, with some areas getting no more than two hours of government electricity per day or not at all.

Most regions in Lebanon obtain electricity from private diesel generators, many of which are run by companies, while a shortage of hard currency has hampered imports of fuel needed to operate electricity production plants.

Data from Triangle Research – a research and policy organization based in Lebanon – indicate that renewable energy production represented less than 3% of the total electricity generated in 2018.

The energy sector in Lebanon

A number of experts called on the next government – whoever heads it – to improve renewable energy generation and launch an energy reform strategy, in order to secure electricity and energy for all Lebanese at the cheapest price and for the longest possible period.

The electricity crisis affected Lebanon in various sectors of society, as many hospitals were forced to postpone critical surgeries, and there are schools that find no way but to close their doors, and bakeries are unable to produce.

Electricity supply is one of the most pressing environmental problems in Lebanon, but it is not the only one. Beirut has been suffering for years from the problem of waste disposal, and the “garbage mountains” that form in various parts of the country have become a symbol of the government’s inability to provide basic services.

Lebanon also faces climate-related disasters, from major coastal floods that destroyed crops last year to forest fires that wiped out homes, which require policies to reduce risks and maintain public safety.

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