As Lebanon’s economy has developed over the years its energy demand has generally increased by 6% - 8% a year, however over the past two years it has increased at a far greater rate due to a large influx of hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees fleeing across the border to escape the conflict in their own country.
This has left the Lebanese national electrical grid unable to meet current demand, especially during the summer peak period.
This has led the Lebanese government to sign a three year, $370 million deal with the Turkish energy company Karadeniz Holding for the lease of its giant, hulking ‘power ship’. Moored just off the coast of Beirut, the Fatmagül Sultan dominates the harbour with its 11 towering chimney stacks making it look like a floating power station. Burning heavy fuel oil, the ship supplies 188MW of electricity a day directly to Lebanon’s national grid, enough to provide the whole country with an extra two hours of electricity each day, which goes a long way to avoiding the power cuts that have plagued the country recently. The total power generated will rise to 270MW a day in June when a second ship arrives.
Kamal Hayek, the general manager of Électricité du Liban, said that “the arrival of the ships will ease the summer brunt when the power demand will reach 3,000MW.”
Gebran Bassil, Lebanon’s energy minister, revealed that “the power ships do not represent an ultimate solution to the electricity problem but a three-year temporary solution to allow the rehabilitation of existing, conventional power plants at Jiyeh and Zouk.”
The power ships, seven in total, are part of a project which Karadeniz launched in 2007 to help developing countries avoid electricity shortages whilst their demand rapidly expands. Due to the success of the scheme another five ships are in construction.
By. James Burgess of Oilprice.com