Lebanon used to generate more than 60-70% of its power from hydro-power sources prior to the 1960s, which is down to 5% today. A National Assessment on hydropower for the entire country was undergone by the Ministry of Energy and Water in 2012, however the UNDP-CEDRO project complimented this study in two main areas; (1) non-river related hydro-power options and (2) assessment and bidding documents for five main (currently existing) hydro-power plants.
Hydro-power from non-river sources
At least four non-conventional sources were examined in the assessment; (1) Irrigation channels and conveyers, (2) water treatment plants inlet and outfall pipes, (3) electrical power plants outfall pipes, and the (4) water distribution network. The primary function of the above systems and/or networks remains intact, however whenever there are pressure points that require pressure reduction, or sufficient height of water discharges, there is a potential to generate electricity. More than 50% of the hydropower potential has been found in currently established thermal power plants that require low investment cost. This potential totals up to approximately 5 MW which is equivalent to 27.4 million KWh per annum.
Rehabilitating current hydro-power plants
An international consultant was hired by CEDRO, in collaboration with the Ministry of Energy and Water, to assess several hydropower plants in Lebanon, and undergo a techno-economic assessment for their rehabilitation/modernization, including the writing of the tender documents. Lebanon currently enjoys a nominal supply of 274 MW yet actual supply is much less, due to the old age of the turbines that, if upgraded, may deliver closer to their nominal capacity. The specifications and/or output for this action were delivered to the Ministry of Energy and Water.