The idea of exporting green electricity from North Africa to Europe has been under discussion for many years. It is prominently associated with the DESERTEC initiative ( There generally are no legal restrictions to export green electricity to foreign buyers, however, there are certain technical limitations that hinder the process.

The export of electricity through the grid, as originally envisaged by DESERTEC, requires a connection between the Libyan grid and European grids, which is currently non-existent. The Libyan grid requires a substantial technical upgrade before such an interconnection is technically feasible.

As an alternative, green electricity can be converted into hydrogen and then shipped to Europe. This, however, requires infrastructure for production and shipping which is not yet in place. This may be an area for the NOC to develop within the framework of a more comprehensive decarbonization strategy. The NOC's experience in operating Libya's oil infrastructure could provide a good basis for that.

Lastly, virtual export structures could be considered, under which the green electricity is consumed locally and respective certificates are issued and traded on the international market. This requires a reliable certification and trading scheme that currently does not exist. Virtual export would be the most sophisticated export structure. It, however, depends on a regulatory infrastructure that is yet to be developed.

Due to the lack of local infrastructure, the export of green electricity will require significant investments. Moreover, given the electricity shortage in Libya at the moment with frequent blackouts, export is an unlikely priority for Libyan decision makers. In the medium to long term, however, the export of green electricity and/or hydrogen could become a key component of the decarbonization of the Libyan economy. This also makes it plausible that the NOC would take a leading role in this process.

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