Al-Maskari Holding, an Abu Dhabi investor in energy projects, has put plans for a $3bn energy hub in Libya on hold since fighting erupted between government and rebel forces.

The privately-owned company had planned a concentration of gas-fired and solar power generation projects, as well as a subsea cable linking the North African state to southern Italy.

“It has been suspended for two to three months now,” said a source at the company.

The energy hub would have had a heavy emphasis on solar power. Before the outbreak of hostilities, Libya’s government had sought to encourage renewable energy with a privatisation programme. The power could have been fed into Europe’s grid via Italy.

“We are concentrating on the solar market in Libya. They have the best solar resources in the world,” Sheikha Aisha al-Maskari, Al-Maskari Holding’s chairwoman, told The National newspaper in December.

Libya has been engulfed in a civil war since protests turned into an armed conflict between troops loyal to Colonel Muammer Qaddafi and rebel forces.

The fighting has led to a cessation of oil and gas production in the country. Recent attempts by the provisional government to export oil were undermined by raids on oil installations by Qaddafi loyalists.