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Going green

Going green

With power consumption and pollution in Lebanon increasing, the country is finally planning to tap into renewable energy sources.

September 16, 2009 9:57 by

With Lebanon’s annual energy consumption expected to spike almost 50 percent over the next decade, the ministry recently took the first step towards the goal of reducing the country’s dependence on imported oil and gas, by launching an awareness campaign to promote the use of renewable energy alternatives.

In addition to solar energy, wind power is seen as having strong potential to displace hydrocarbons. Lebanon boasts a number of areas in the Beqaa Valley with gusts that rise to speeds of four to six meters per second, strong enough to fuel wind turbines. These areas include Kalaa, RasBaalbek, Hermel, Kaa, Mouraijat, Hazerta, Akkar and Marjayoun.

Meanwhile, firms have begun reaching out to environmentally conscious consumers, a sign of rising awareness of energy issues. Companies preaching the corporate social responsibility (CSR) doctrine are increasingly focusing on carbon neutrality. Rasamny Younis Motor Company, the country’s dealer of Nissan cars, has hired EcoSecurities, a UK-based environmental consultancy, to help reduce its carbon footprint by purchasing carbon credits on the global emissions trading market. In 2005, HSBC became Lebanon’s first carbon-neutral bank. Bank Med, meanwhile, has launched a CSR campaign dubbed “Happy Planet.”

Environmental consciousness has been on the rise for years in other markets, but the chronic power shortages give Lebanon added impetus for cutting down on energy consumption. It’s worth noting that environmental concern is nothing new, as the country passed anti-air pollution legislation as far back as 2002, prohibiting leaded gasoline and cracking down on high-emission vehicles.

The problem is that this law has never been fully enforced.In energy policy as elsewhere, Lebanon has tended towards words without action. Whether the Lebanese can achieve ambitious renewables targets will depend on more than a few advertising campaigns.

First seen in Trends magazine.

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