So, elections are coming up and the lies and propaganda are already under way. One example was this sign I saw on the infamous Zouk powerplant. It translates “Finally, thanks to you General Aoun, the Zouk will be pure again”.
What a load of crap, I immediately thought to myself. But, then again, that’s just the tip of the proverbial crap iceberg. Let’s go back to 2010, when it all began.
Minister Gebran Bassil became minister of electricity and water after his father in law threw a tantrum insisting he must get a cabinet seat. In June 2010, Bassil presented a 5-year plan that would forever resolve Lebanon’s embarrassing electricity situation. Here are the main points of this 5-year plan:
- Rent electricity-generating ships to produce power while existing power plants are refurbished and upgraded, and new ones are built
- Make sure new power plants run on natural gas
- Strike deals with nations like Qatar and Algeria to import natural gas, seeing how extracting our own will need more than 10 years.
- 24/7 electricity after 4 years (meaning 2014, given that he proposed the plan in 2010)
- Invest in renewable energy after the needs are fulfilled 100%
The update on this? He was given 1.2 Billion USD a few months ago, and we are all certain it will go to waste. Proof? That the deal to get electricity-generating ships got 80 million dollars shaved off after less than an hour of negotiation, proving how easily Bassil is willing to waste our money if some of it comes back to his pockets and his fellow politicians from both camps in Lebanon.
So, what are the major problems till now?
- Two years late
- Waste of money due to no transparency when it comes to the ships (it would be more business-savvy to actually build our own powerplant that would last for decades, versus pay the same amount to rent a ship for 4-5 years)
- No plans to build a powerplant to replace the Zouk monstrosity that is to be scrapped.
- Fuel oil is being used in the Jiyyeh powerplant, when it was meant to be fueled by natural gas, meaning worse emissions, higher maintenance cost and shorter life span for the plant.
- No money is being invested in renewable energy yet, which is completely stupid
What kind of stupid argument is that? Why should we wait till all our electricity needs are met before investing in renewable energy? How can anyone find that logical at all? Why not implement smart grids where you can install a wind turbine or solar panel, and power your own home, selling your excess to the national grid, and buying from it when you need more power. Spain and Germany are great examples of how the smart grid phenomenon is being implemented. http://energyinformative.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/smart-grid.jpg
The bottom line
- Use the lesser of evils and build natural gas power plants after striking the best deal with exporting nations.
- Work on extracting our own natural gas
- Stop using fuel oil as soon as possible
- Begin investing in wind farms and solar panels
- Scrap the ships plan and allocate money to build new natural gas plants
- Find an alternative for the expired Zouk plant
More information and further insights
- Natural gas might not be ideal, but in essence it’s just methane, CH4, which emits CO2 and water. Fuel oil is made of more complex Hydrocarbons and emits toxic nitrous oxides and sulfur oxides which are a true health hazard
- Begin investing in renewable energy from now will allow us to bolster the existing network and will reduce the need for auxiliary power, meaning we won’t need as many ships for that long a time. Also, having 30-40% of our grid from renewable energy is stable enough, contrary to what is being said.
- Stop propaganda that you installed filters. Wow, what an immense achievement! Bottom line is, toxic and hazardous pollutants are still flooding our air, which according to an AUB study, is twice as bad as the maximum recommend by the WHO (World Health Organization).
Information compiled with the help of Greenpeace Lebanon
So, spare us your election propaganda Bassil, and tell your father-in-law to get his act straight if he expects to win anything next elections. He can start by booting Gaby Layyoun and all the accomplices in the Women’s Right law proposed to parliament which the FPM is helping derail. Second, he can install a filter on his mouth and the mouths of all his fellow politicians, instead of pretending to be an environmentalist hero and greenwashing his name without being transparent about what exactly they’re filtering and starting when. If there’s anything I hate more than religious fanatics, it’s people who try to greenwash themselves on the expense of our quality of life and health.