Libya Energy Situation

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27.0000° N, 17.0000° E

Total Area (km²): It includes a country's total area, including areas under inland bodies of water and some coastal waterways.


Population: It is based on the de facto definition of population, which counts all residents regardless of legal status or citizenship--except for refugees not permanently settled in the country of asylum, who are generally considered part of the population of their country of origin.

6,812,341 (2022)

Rural Population (% of total population): It refers to people living in rural areas as defined by national statistical offices. It is calculated as the difference between total population and urban population.

19 (2022)

GDP (current US$): It is the sum of gross value added by all resident producers in the economy plus any product taxes and minus any subsidies not included in the value of the products. It is calculated without making deductions for depreciation of fabricated assets or for depletion and degradation of natural resources.

45,752,336,036 (2022)

GDP Per Capita (current US$): It is gross domestic product divided by midyear population

6,716.10 (2022)

Access to Electricity (% of population): It is the percentage of population with access to electricity.

70.21 (2021)

Energy Imports Net (% of energy use): It is estimated as energy use less production, both measured in oil equivalents. A negative value indicates that the country is a net exporter. Energy use refers to use of primary energy before transformation to other end-use fuels, which is equal to indigenous production plus imports and stock changes, minus exports and fuels supplied to ships and aircraft engaged in international transport.

-102.96 (2014)

Fossil Fuel Energy Consumption (% of total): It comprises coal, oil, petroleum, and natural gas products.

99.11 (2014)

Source: World Bank


Libya is the second biggest North African country (1,76 sq km) and located between Algeria and Tunisia in the west and Egypt in the east, bordering the Mediterranean Sea in the north and (from west to east) Niger, Chad and the Sudan in the south. Virtually a hundred percent of its land territory is land area. Apart from the access to the Mediterranean Sea (about 1,770 km of coastline)[1], Libya has virtually no accessible water resources on the earth's surface, which consists to more than 90%[1] of desert or semi-desert. Libyan climate ranges from Mediterranean along the coast line to extremely dry in the interior when going south. Although the barren, flat and undulating plains allow only a limited amount of land (1.03% of total territory)[1] to be arable, Libya’s soil is hiding great richness. Most prominent natural resources are petroleum, natural gas and gypsum. Especially the first two natural resources are the main driving factor for the Libyan economy. Hydrocarbons contribute about 95% of export earning, 65% of the GDP and about 80% of government revenue.[1] It is also due to the fossil resources, that Libya has always enjoyed a fairly high international interest and relevance. Although the revolution of 2011, which has brought the old regime of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi to a downfall, has impeded economic activities, it is also widely considered to be an unique opportunity for entrepreneurial activity and thus economic growth.

The ethnic composition of the population is mainly given by Arabs, arabized Berbers, Tuareg and Tubu.[1] A vast majority of approximately 97% of the population[1] avows itself to the religion of the Islam (Sunni Muslim). The official national language is Arabic.

Libyan politics have been marked by the Arabic Spring that took place in 2011. It ended with the defeat of the old Libyan regime and the death of the official ruler of the Libyan Arab Republic Colonel Muammar Gaddafi. The ousted regime had been opposed by the National Transitional Council (NTC) that had formed in the rebel stronghold of Benghazi. After the international recognition of the NTC as the governing body of Libya, an interim government has been officially inaugurated on 24 October 2011 with Abdel Rahim el Kib as the head of government.[2] Nearly one year later, the NTC handed over power to Libya's newly elected parliament, the General National Congress (GNC) in August 2012. The election for the GNC one month before were the country's first free national election in six decades. Ali Zeidan was appointed prime minister by the GNC in October 2012 who formed an interim government which has the tasks to pave the ground for a new constitution and for the parliamentary elections.[3]

Libya's economy is dominated by the oil sector. Around 95% of export revenues is generated by the energy sector. Besides the petroleum and petrochemicals industry, Libya is also active in the aluminum, iron and steel and cement industry. In 2012, crude oil, refined petroleum products, natural gas and chemicals were exported to Italy (23.5%), Germany (12.5%), China (11.3%), France (9.7%), Spain (7.6%), UK (4.7%) and US (4.5%). Libya mainly imports machinery, semi-finished goods, food, transport equipment, consumer products. The main import trading partners in 2012 were China (13.7%), Turkey (12.3%), Italy (8.7%), Tunisia (7.3%), South Korea (6.2%), Greece (5.4%) and Germany (4.9%).[4]

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Energy Situation

Energy Production

In 2011, Libya has produced about 30,962 ktoe of energy, which is about 360,088.19 GWh. Clearly, crude oil is by far the most prominent energy source, making up almost 79% of energy production. Another interesting fact is that renewable energies (at least for the year of 2011) have been neglected entirely. More current sources suggest that renewable energy production has only risen to about 0.06%.[5] Published by the IEA, the table below offers further information on Libya's total energy production in 2011.

Total energy production (2011)[6]

Energy source
in ktoe
in %
Coal and peat

Crude oil
Oil products

Natural gas


Geothermal, solar, etc.

Biofuels and waste



1Due to roundings, the percentages may not add up to a hundred.

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Energy Consumption

The total final consumption was 22,035 GWh in 2011. Commercial and Public Services accounted for 36% whilst the residential sector amounted to 24% and the Industry to 22%. The following table lists the energy consumption of Libya according to various sector.[7]


Consumption in GWh in %
Industry 4,864 22
Transport 0 0
Residential 5,365 24
Commercial and Public Services 7,915 36
Agriculture / Forestry 2,292 10
Fishing 0 0
Other Non-Specified 1,599 7
TFC 22,035

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Renewable Energy Sources

Since energy prices are heavily subsidised in all economic sectors in Libya, it is difficult to foster renewable energies and energy efficiency on a cost-effective basis. Renewable energies are not utilised in significant amounts and only 5 MW solar energy, separated into several small PV projects, have been installed yet.[8][5]

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Solar Power

Based on satellite data, a general solar map is available, but so far, no detailed solar atlas has been developed.[8] Libya has a great potential for solar energy. In the coastal regions, the daily average of solar radiation on a horizontal plane accounts to 7.1 kWh/m2/day whilst the radiation is 8.1 kWh/m2/day in the southern region. The average sun duration is of more than 3,500 hours per year. This is equivalent to a layer of 25 cm of crude oil per year on the land surface.[9]

Even though the total installed capacity of solar energy is only 5 MW in 2012[8], small PV projects have been conducted since 1976 in Libya. At first, solar system were used to supply a cathodic protection for the oil pipe line which was connecting the Dahra oil field with the Sedra Port. Later in 1980, a PV system was used in the communications sector to supply energy to the microwave repeater station near Zella. Till 2006, 80 stations running by PV in the field of communications have been established in Libya. By the end of the year 2005, the total installed photovoltaic peak power installed was around 420 KWp.[9] In 2012, it exceeded to 950 kWp.[8] At El-Agailat, a PV pumping system was installed at the beginning of the 1980s. Till 2006, 35 PV water pumping projects have been installted (~110 KWp).[9] The total capacity of PV water pumping system was 120 kWp in 2012.[8] The use of PV systems for rural electrification was only starting in 2003. By 2006, the total number of remote systems installed by General Electric company of Libya (GECOL) was 340. They had a total capacity of 220 kWp. The Center of Solar Energy Studies (CSES) and the Saharan Center also installed 150 with a total power of 125 KWp.[9] In 2012, the rural electrification PV systems have a capacity of 725 kWp.[9] Currently, there are 3 PV projected in the pipeline: a 14 MW power station in Houn, a 40 MW project in Sabha, and a 15 MW power station in Ghat.

Regarding concentrated solar power (CSP), the technical potential in Libya is huge. It has been estimated at 140,000 TWh/year which equivalent to 27,000 GW of capacity at 60% load factor.[8]

In 1983, 10 systems of solar heaters were installed. Till 2006, an additional 2000 had been deployed.[9]

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Libya's potential of biomass is limited. Biomass energy sources are small and can only be used on an individual level as an energy source. It is not suitable to produce energy.[9]

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Wind Power

So far, no detailed wind atals has been developed yet, but a general wind map based on satelite date is available.[5] The wind potential is good. The average wind speed at a 40 meter height is between 6-7.5 m/s. One of the several attractive locations along the Libyan coast is at Dernah where the average wind speed is around 7.5 metres per second.[8]

In many oasis, wind energy was used to pump water since 1940. Since the wind-mills need to be maintained regularly, this way of producing energy has not been developed on a large scale.[8]

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Electricity Situation

Electricity Demand

Due to a high economic growth and greater investment in the oil and natural gas sectors, the electricity generation has more than doubled from 2000 to 2010. Because the growing power demand was greater than gains in installed generation capacity, electricity shortfalls occur regularly, even before the civil war of 2011. As of 2010, Libya had a total electricity installed capacity of 6.8 GW, which is generated by power plants either fueled by oil or natural gas. According to the World Bank estimate, 99.8% of the Libyan people have access to electricity, which is the highest rate among African countries.[10]

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Electricity Consumption

In 2011, the electricity consumption in the Libya was in total 32.96 TWh. This corresponds to 3.73 MWh per capita.[11]

Electricity Grid

The national electric grid consists of a high voltage network of about 12,000 km, a medium voltage network of about 12,500 km and 7,000 km of low voltage network. Some villages and remote areas which are located far away from these net-works cannot be connected to the grid due to economic reasons. Those locations with a small population and a small amount of energy demand, use diesel generators as a power supply, requiring regularly maintenance and supply of fuel.[9]

There is an operating grid interconnection to Egypt with a capacity of 240 MW which is 180 km long. [8]

Regarding to grid access of renewable energy projects, there is neither a priority access granted to RE by law nor has a grid code been developed yet. Additionally, a detailed map for potential RE site is missing.[8]

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Key Problems of the Energy Sector

There are several aspects of the Libyan energy sector that can be considered to be quite problematic. Due to the quantity of fossil energy sources, renewable energy sources have ever since been considered to be of secondary relevance. Although first efforts of initiating and developing a renewable energy sector under the pre-revolutionary government, the pursuit of a diversified and sustainable energy sector has been limited. Instead of being emphatic on developing alternative energy sources, the old regime has strongly subsidised energy coming from domestic fossil sources. It developed and maintained a fairly one-sided economy that heavily relied (and still relies) on the occurrence of fossils. This does not only aggravate future efforts to reform Libya's energy sector, it also cancels out the expected effect of renewable energies bringing along economic advantages. From a more general point of view, there has been no economic incentive to shift to a more sustainable energy mix, so far.

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Policy Framework, Laws and Regulations

General Energy Policy, Energy Strategy

Regarding RE, the Renewable Energy Authority of Libya or REAOL has established a target of 10% renewables by 2025, which would account for a total capacity of 2219 MW. Intermediate targets are 389 MW by 2015, and 1069 MW by 2020.[5]

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Important Laws and Regulations

Currently there is no legislation which covers the financial support for RE or which addresses the issue of financing additional costs of RE projects. Moreover, a clear legislation for the participation of private capital in the power sector is missing.[12]

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Renewable Energy Supporting Policies

So far, there are no supporting policies for RE in Libya. There are no public competitive bidding for large-scale private RE projects, nor do obligation to conclude long-term power purchase agreements with RE producers exists. There are also not feed-in tariffs and no net-metering policy for small scale RE projects.[12]

Regarding finance and investments, Libya does not have an RE fund for financing RE projects. The currently planned projects are planned to be financed through government budget. Since the power sector is still closed for private investors, there are no financial guarantees to private investors to ensure payment under power purchase agreements by the Libyan government. Internal tax privileges are not provided for RE projects.[5]

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Institutional Setup in the Energy Sector

Post-revolutionary developments have seen the establishment of a Ministry of Electricity and Renewable Energy with Minister Awad Ibrahim Bryk as head. This is an encouraging step towards the integration of the subjects of renewable energy and energy efficiency into the national agenda, as both themes have not been given a ministerial status in the past. Moreover, Libya's energy sector unsurprisingly relied virtually solely on fossil fuels, with renewables playing a very negligible part if any at all. Energy prices for the domestic market were heavily subsidised by the government and renewable energies were not considered to be a likely alternative to the fossil energy resources.

These new developments could be considered to bear the potential of a turn of the tides, as Libya has not only seen the establishment of a new ministry, but also the resumed work of the Renewable Energy Authority of Libya (REAoL) that had accomplished remarkable pre-revolutionary work - although that work had only been in theory. Ambitious goals that have been described by REAoL, have never been considered or included in legal frameworks and official goals. Originally, it was a solar research centre within GECOL (see below). After being asked to develop proposal for concrete RE projects, the research centre was first upgraded to a department within GECOL and then separated from it. Later, it was supervised by the General Peoples’ Committee for Electricity, Water and Gas. Mainly engineers are working at REAoL.[8]

The state-owned electricity company General Electricity Company of Libya (GECOL) is responsible for power generation, transmission and distribution.[13]

The equivalent of this monopoly in the oil sector is held by the National Oil Corporation (NOC)[14].

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Activities of Other Donors

GIZ has initiated a 1,000 Roofs Program, which seeks to install 1,000 PV roof-top systems with a total capacity of 3 MW. The chosen roofs are located throughout the country including remote areas as well as various cities. Installations can be on-grid and off-grid. Having the good experience in Germany, the Program can form a basis to establish further support instruments, such as a feed-in tariffs. REAOL is in charge of the Program.

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  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) - World Factbook, Last Updated: Feb 23, 2012. Accessed: Feb 29, 2012. URL:
  2. Auswärtiges Amt (German Ministry of Foreign Affairs), Last Updated: Jan, 2012. Accessed: Mar 14, 2012. URL:
  3. BBC, Libya Profile, Accessed Dec, 15 2013,
  4. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) - World Factbook, Last Updated: July 10, 2013, Accessed: August 8, 2013, URL:
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 RCREEE Country Prolile Renewable Energy in Libya 2012,
  6. International Energy Agency, "2009 Energy Balance for Libyan Arab Jamahiriya", last updated: 2012. Accessed: Mar 14, 2012. URL:
  7. International Energy Agency (IEA). Heat and Electricty in Libya 2011,
  8. 8.00 8.01 8.02 8.03 8.04 8.05 8.06 8.07 8.08 8.09 8.10 RCREEE, Provision of Technical Support/Services for an Economical, Technological and Environmental Impact fckLRAssessment of National Regulations and Incentives Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency, Country Report Libya,
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 9.4 9.5 9.6 9.7 Saleh, Ibrahim M. 2006: Prospects of Renewable Energy in Libya, International Symposium on Solar Physics and Solar Eclipses (SPSE),
  10. U.S. Energy Informations Administration, Libya Country Informations, Accessed Dec, 15 2013,
  11. International Energy Agency (IEA). Indicators in Libya 2011,
  12. 12.0 12.1 RCREEE Country Prolile Renewable Energy in Libya 2012,

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