Italy supports Lebanese energy projects

Lebanese companies looking to finance renewable energy or energy efficiency projects can apply for a loan product through Banque du Liban’s NEEREA financing mechanism that is funded by a 5 million euros ($5.8 million) grant from the Italian Environment Land and Sea Ministry (IMELS), according to Francesca Zadro, trade commissioner at the Italian Embassy in Beirut.

The grant basically aims to promote subsidized loans for projects in the field of energy efficiency and renewable energy in Lebanon through the National Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Action financing mechanism.

In addition, the IMELS also launched its Heat-Pump Project for Lebanon, a new financing scheme aimed at promoting heat-pumps for space heating and cooling and the production of hot water in Lebanon.

Zadro, speaking on the sidelines of the International Beirut Energy Forum Thursday, said that the Heat-Pump Project offers a grant from the IMELS that covers 30 percent of the cost of the first 30 heat pumps to be installed in Lebanon.

The amount set aside for the project is 500,000 euros.

Since December 2016, when the Heat-Pump Project was approved, technical studies have been conducted in collaboration between the Lebanese Center for Energy Conservation and the Polytechnic of Milano prior to implementation of the project.

Zadro said that 10 Italian companies were asked to present solutions, technologies and innovations at the forum that can be applied to the Lebanese market.

“When we talk about energy and especially energy efficient solutions, it can be achieved by making use of wasted energy. The heat that comes out of a generator or engine can be used to produce energy,” Zadro said.

Italian companies demonstrated innovative designs at the forum yesterday for generating energy, such as rooftop wind turbines and technology for capturing heat from diesel or gas turbine engines to heat water or cool or heat spaces.

“I could see a big interest from Lebanon for solutions concerning energy efficiency and renewable energy. I see interest more in energy efficiency, how to consume less and how to better use the energy that we are producing,” Zadro added.

The IMELS 5 million euros-grant was signed in December 2016 between IMELS and BDL and covers all renewable energy and energy efficiency projects, provided 60 percent of the project financing is used to purchase Italian products or technology.

The loan period is 15 years at a very low interest rate, in addition, 10 percent of the loan is given as a grant from IMELS, Zadro said.

Heat pumps are devices that move thermal energy in the opposite direction of spontaneous heat transfer by absorbing heat from a cold space and releasing it to a warmer one.

In heating mode, heat pumps are three to four times more effective at heating than simple electrical resistance heaters.