Lebanese Minister of Energy and Water Gebran Bassil has inaugurated the first of two power generation barges chartered to help reduce the country’s electricity supply shortfall. The Fatmagul Sultan power ship, owned by Turkey’s Karkey Karadeniz and with 175mw rated capacity, was connected to the grid on 5 April at a specially built mooring alongside the Zouk power plant. Mr Basil said the additional power provided by the Turkish power barges was a “temporary solution to allow the rehabilitation of the Zouk and Jiyyeh power plants.”

A second power ship is expected to arrive in Lebanon in June, under a $360mn three-year contract with Karadeniz for the provision of two barges to deliver 270mw of power. It will be moored near Jiyyeh power plant and linked to the grid through a substation. Before the start-up of the first barge, Lebanon’s generating capacity was less than 1.5gw, while average demand could potentially exceed 2.4gw. Electricite du Liban (EDL) Director General Kamal Hayik told reporters that the two ships would increase Lebanon’s power availability by three hours a day in time for summer, when peak demand could reach 3.0gw. Germany’s MAN Diesel and Turbo announced on 2 April it is supplying 14 diesel engines for two new power plants to be built alongside the Zouk and Jiyyeh units, which are both near Beirut. They will have capacity to generate 194mw and 78mw of electricity, respectively. Being built by Danish contractor Burmeister and Wain at an estimated cost of €270mn, they are scheduled to be handed over to EDL in 2014. Initially run on diesel fuel, they will be convertible to gas-fired operation when Lebanon has gas supply infrastructure working as planned. (CONTINUED - 280 WORDS)