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MPhil in Engineering for Sustainable Development

global challenges, engineering solutions

Studying at Cambridge

 

Mira Attieh

Promoting Decentralised Renewable Power Generation in Lebanon

Lebanon has significant energy security challenges marked by a growing deficit in supply and full dependence on aging and fossil-fuel-based power plants. As a result, Lebanese suffer from around 12 hours of daily blackout, considerable financial losses, and the highest rates of air pollution in the MENA region. Unlike the current state-owned electricity sector, decentralised renewable power generation could diversify the country’s energy resources, enable people to participate in solving the problem, and help the country reach its renewable energy target. So far, the sector has been promoted through occasional international donations and the Government’s subsidised loans, the future of which is uncertain given the current fiscal crisis. 

This research aims to find a sustainable business model for promoting decentralised renewable power generation in Lebanon and to pave the way for its implementation. To answer the research questions, the study draws upon literature, key-informant surveys, and semi-structured interviews conducted with experts in the Lebanese energy sector. The application of the host-owned model, community-owned model, and third-party-owned model in Lebanon is evaluated using the business model canvas. thematic analysis is then conducted to identify the barriers facing the implementation of the most suitable business model and solutions for overcoming them. Finally, an economic model is developed to analyse the impact of some of the identified barriers and the feasibility of the proposed solutions. 

The analysis reveals that the third-party-ownership model is more feasible, desirable, and viable than the host-owned and community-owned models when combined with net metering. Moreover, the study identifies six barriers hindering the development of the third-party-ownership business model in Lebanon and discusses solutions capable of enabling the right environment for its application. This research reduces the gap in the literature related to the renewable energy sector in Lebanon and serves to inform reform plans aimed at the power sector’s transition to renewables.