Lebanese Politicians, fuel companies block Qatar’s offer to build 3 power plants


Photo: Lebanese caretaker economy minister Amin Salam


BEIRUT (AP) — Lebanon’s political class, fuel companies, and private electricity providers blocked an offer by gas-rich Qatar to build three renewable energy power plants to ease the crisis-hit nation’s decades-old electricity crisis, Lebanese caretaker economy minister said Thursday.

Lebanon’s electricity crisis worsened after the country’s historic economic meltdown began in October 2019. Power cuts often last for much of the day, leaving many reliant on expensive private generators that work on diesel and raise pollution levels.

Although many people have installed solar power systems in their homes over the past three years, most use it only to fill in when the generator is off. Cost and space issues in urban areas have also limited solar use.

Qatar offered in 2023 to build three power plants with a capacity of 450 megawatts — or about 25% of the small nation’s needs — and since then, Doha didn’t receive a response from Lebanon, caretaker Economy Minister Amin Salam said. 

Lebanon has been suffering from power shortage for several years, Blackouts are a daily affair everywhere. Corruption of the Lebanese political class is blamed for the power shortage because many of the politicians invested heavily in private generators which charge consumers exorbitant sums to line their pockets

Lebanon’s energy minister, Walid Fayyad, responded in a news conference held shortly afterward that Qatar only offered to build one power plant with a capacity of 100 megawatts that would be a joint venture between the private and public sectors and not a gift as “some claim.”