With its substantial hydrocarbon resources and relatively small
(although increasing) needs, Libya traditionally has had large
energy surpluses. Estimates in 1983 put the amount of Libya's
excess energy supply at 94,196 tons of coal equivalent. All electric
power was thermally generated by stations powered with natural
gas or petroleum. Total generating capacity in 1983 was estimated
to be 7,150 gigawatts per hour.
The General Electric Organization, part of the Secretariat of
Communications, was in charge of generating electricity. According
to its data, domestic usage of electricity exceeded agricultural
and industrial usage. The data for 1977 suggested that most homes
had electrical power and also indicated the relatively small industrial
base of the country. Many oil company installations, however,
maintained their own small plants.
Under the 1981-85 development plan, a total of LD779 million
was allocated for electrical projects between 1982 and 1985. In
addition, Libya has actively sought to develop a nuclear power
generating facility for fear that its rising industrial power
needs might begin to cut into oil exports. In 1985 technical studies
were under way for the construction of an 880-megawatt nuclear
power station near Surt. The Soviet Union had agreed to supply
the two 440-megawatt reactor cores needed to power the plant.
The total cost of the project was put at US$4.2 billion. According
to the secretary for atomic energy, enough local uranium had been
discovered to fuel the plant, but studies were also being done
on deposits in the Aouzou Strip area in Libyan-occupied Chad .
In 1985 approximately 850 Libyans were undergoing training at
the Tajura nuclear research center near Tripoli, which was equipped
with a small 10- megawatt research reactor.
Data as of 1987