The initial period 2002-2004 saw delays in project implementation; consequently, the project was essentially restarted with a new project team in 2005 and was operational till the end of 2009.
The project was mainly targeting the high combined consumption of energy in industrial plants and buildings, where the potential for energy savings is important and promising. In 2006, LCEC aimed and worked on creating a market for ESCOs (Energy Service Companies that offer energy efficiency improvement services) where the end user can request a specialized ESCO to conduct an energy audit, take the necessary measures in energy conservation and monitor energy saving programs following the standardized energy performance contract. The services delivered would have a guarantee of the savings and the payment of the ESCO depends on the performance of the project and the amount of energy saved
Over 125 audits were completed within the project, mostly for large facilities. At the beginning of the project, 100% of the audit cost was covered by the LCEC; later on 50% by the LCEC and the other half were paid by the owner of the facility. At the end of the project, LCEC was only financing 30% of the audit cost, when the public became aware about the importance of the energy audit process.
The main barrier for implementing the recommended measures proposed by the energy audits was the financing part. This is why a national platform for financing the renewable energy and energy efficiency NEEREA was created later on for this purpose.
Only one ESCO was operational at the beginning of the programme. In 2010 only 8 ESCOs where active, nowadays more than 30 are available and the market is still expanding rapidly.
NEERA contributed to annual saving of around 16.4 GWh and more than 2.6 million USD as well as reduced carbon emissions by around 12 tons between July, 2012 and July, 2014. These important savings were accomplished basically due to ESCOs’ work by applying several energy efficiency measures and implementing new renewable energy projects. Their actions include but are not limited to: LED lighting retrofits, heat recovery, energy management systems, solar water heating, power factor corrections, building envelope, variable speed drives…the different technologies are shown in figure
Furthermore, LCEC has been urging potential beneficiaries to take advantage of the additional UNDP guarantee scheme on energy loans, while applying for the NEEREA financing mechanism. A total amount of 600,000 USD was dedicated for this purpose as collaterals on green loans presented by civic society organizations in Lebanon.
To further support the growth of the ESCOs market, LCEC launched an initiative in NEAAP called “Paving the Way for Energy Audit and ESCO Business”. The purpose of this initiative is to support the development of the ESCO working in the energy audit business and provide them with the suitable financial, fiscal and technical incentives to remove all the obstacles hindering their growth. To support this initiative, LCEC has offered periodical trainings, workshops and seminars on energy audit activities and procedures to technician, engineers, bankers and to all those involved in the field.
The ESCO pre-qualification programme was launched by LCEC by 2014 in order to regulate the market and have a recommended list of companies for potential projects.