The Lebanese Center for Energy Conservation (LCEC), which is the country’s energy agency affiliated to the Lebanese Ministry of Energy and Water, and acts as the technical arm of the government, announced a tender for the construction of up to 300 MW of solar-plus-storage capacity, to be divided between three separate projects, in February.
In April, the LCEC published a document inviting the private sector to submit an expression of interest (EoI) for the development of the projects by July 12, 2018.
According to the LCEC’s document, “in each project, the minimum power capacity of one given solar PV farm is 70 MW and the maximum power capacity is 100 MW with Battery Energy Storage of minimum of 70 MW power with a minimum of 70 MWh of storage capacity, regardless of the solar PV sizing.”
75 expressions of interest
El Khoury, general director and president of the LCEC board, told pv magazine that a total of 75 EoIs were submitted to the LCEC, including the world’s largest investors in the renewable energy sector.
El Khoury interpreted this development as a sign of confidence in Lebanon’s renewable energy market.
The list of 75 submissions is not yet publicly available, however he told pv magazine that all 75 EoIs are currently under review, and that the list will be made publicly available once the review is finalized, “hopefully in the next month or so.”
The LCEC board director anticipates all 75 EoIs will be valid “unless a company has a huge legal or financial issue.”
The tender process
El Khoury also explained the process for the tender of the three solar-plus-storage projects.
The purpose specifically of an EoI “is to understand the appetite of the market to participate in the calls for proposals by the private sector,” he said.
Given this, and “following the EoI phase, a detailed call for proposals will be circulated to the consortiums that had submitted an EoI. This is expected [to be published] by around December 2018,” he added.
“The whole process is managed by Lebanon’s Ministry of Energy and Water as per the decisions of the Council of Minister of Lebanon,” he further explained. LCEC’s role within this process is to provide technical assistance to the ministry.
Once the firms behind the 75 expressions of interest have submitted their bids sometime next year, the evaluation of the bids will be conducted by a national committee, to be assigned by the Minister of Energy and Water.
Lebanon’s institutions are currently seeking ideas for best practice with regards to the forthcoming call of proposals, which El Khoury expects to be published towards the end of 2018.
For this reason, he said, this year’s International Beirut Energy Forum, which will take place from September 26-28 2018, will host a detailed discussion on how “to shape the request for proposals documents. The purpose of the session will be to shape the Request for Proposals (RfP) in a way that is bankable and technically feasible.”