Oil producing countries such as Libya are increasingly taking the view that these resources are not renewable and represent an asset that can and should be used cautiously and preserved – hence it is looking to move in the direction of renewables.
As Libya makes its transition from decades of dictatorship to a nascent democracy, decision makers within the country have looked at its resources and how these can be used optimally. As Libya’s minister of electricity and renewable energy, Ali Mihirig, puts it, “We have oil and gas, sun, space and a low population count.”
Libya’s population comprises some 6.5 million people. The country currently has a generation capacity of about 5,000 MW, made up of heavy fuel oil, light fuel oil and gas fuelled plants. Libya is Africa’s fourth largest oil producer, with production of 1.6 million barrels a day prior to the overthrow of the previous regime, and now producing under a million barrels a day as output has yet to recover due to unrest. The country has proven oil reserves of some 47 billion barrels, the highest of any country in Africa, as well as 52 trillion cubic feet (tcf) of gas reserves.