The cooperation between the Italian Ministry of Environment Land and Sea (IMELS) and the Lebanese Center for Energy Conservation (LCEC) dates back to January 2013 when the MEDiterranean DEvelopment of Support schemes for solar Initiatives and Renewable Energies (MED-DESIRE Project) was launched. MED-DESIRE was co-funded by the European Union through the ENPI CBC MED Programme 2007-2013. Throughout the Project, IMELS was leading on the development of a pilot solar ordinance for the Union of Municipalities of Tyre and on the development of a financing mechanism for local authorities. As a result of this cooperation, LCEC started and is currently finalizing a national solar ordinance to be proposed to the Higher Council for Urban Planning. Also, the Central Bank of Lebanon issued Intermediate Circular 399, allowing “villages and rural areas” to access the existing financing mechanism for energy efficiency, renewable energy, and environmental measures.
Based on the success of the cooperation between IMELS and LCEC, a technical cooperation agreement on sustainable development was signed on 7 July 2016 in Rome. The objective of the agreement - which will remain in force for 3 years and can be extended for a further 3 years - is to strengthen bilateral relations between Italy and Lebanon in the field of sustainable development and the fight against climate change.
In December 2016, the Heat-Pump Project was approved aiming to promote heat-pumps for space heating and cooling and for the production of hot water in the domestic and tertiary sectors. The project includes a testing facility, standardization, technical guidelines and capacity building on the testing, installation and application of the technology. It also includes technical feasibility and co-financing of pilot installations, followed by a monitoring program.
Also in December 2016, the IMELS signed an agreement with the Central Bank of Lebanon including a 5 Million Euros grant and aiming to promote a subsidized financing line for projects in the field of energy efficiency and renewable energy in Lebanon through the NEEREA financing mechanism. The subsidy will cover 10% of the amount of any non-residential loan taken under NEEREA, given that not less than 60% of the value of the project cover products and/or services by Italian SMEs. The Central Bank of Lebanon issued in February 2017 Intermediate Circular 451 covering the administrative framework for this subsidy.
Finally, many activities have been taking place through the implementation of this technical agreement between IMELS and LCEC since 2016, namely:
IMELS has been demonstrating a commitment to the energy efficiency and renewable energy market in Lebanon, encouraging the LCEC to benefit from international opportunities in this sector, including the submission of projects for international financing, and promoting a more important regional role of the LCEC with the neighboring countries.