Iran willing to help Lebanon end power cuts, says its envoy


Iranian ambassador to Beirut, Ghadanfar Roknabadi, said on Saturday that Tehran was willing to help Lebanon end its chronic electricity problems.

“Lebanon requires [an additional] 1,000 MW and we consider this to be a small amount … given that we export around 25,000 MW and we have a surplus of production estimated at around 6,000 MW. We can resolve this problem easily … as soon as possible with simple conditions,” Roknabadi told reporters.

Roknabadi said Iran can help supply Lebanon with electricity and build additional power plants.

The ambassador gave his statement after meeting with the country’s foreign affairs minister, Adnan Mansour, during which he delivered a letter from his foreign affairs minister, The Daily Star Lebanon reported on Saturday.

The newspaper said that in recent weeks severe power outages in Lebanon have prompted citizens to launch a series of demonstrations, particularly in the south like the Chouf region and the Bekaa.

Lebanon’s energy Minister Jibran Bassil said his country is in dire need of investments in the electricity sector.

On January 23, Electricite Du Liban announced it had completed maintenance work on the first gas turbine at the Zahrani power plant, which is expected to beef up electricity supply to 1,500 MW.

Protests over electricity outages are not taking place only in Lebanon, but in the conflict-stricken country, Iraq, too, as electricity was one of the main demands protesters called for.

Earlier this month the Tehran Times reported Iran’s power generation transmission and distribution management company (TAVANIR) managing director, Homayoun Haeri, as saying that the Islamic Republic will exchange up to 15 billion kilowatt hours (BkWh) of electricity with its neighboring countries by the end of the current calendar year (March 19, 2012), up 50 percent year on year.

Homayoun said that Iraq and Turkey have respectively the most exchanges of electricity with Iran.

Afghanistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Iraq, Pakistan, Nakhichevan, Turkey and Turkmenistan are the countries Iran is currently exchanging electricity with. The Iranian Energy Ministry statistics said the country will be exporting up to $1 billion in electricity by March 2012.

Iran’s total power generation capacity stands at 63,403 megawatts (MW) while total length of the power grid exceeds 780,000 kilometers.

(Lebanon’s Energy and Water Minister ) Bassil and former Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki signed an agreement on energy cooperation back in October 2010 . Bassil also reportedly discussed during his Tehran visit the possibility of signing contracts to build one or two gas-operated power stations, but nothing has happened since even though Tehran has been fully aware of Lebanon’s continued power outages.

Al Arabiya, Agencies