Engineers call for greater focus
on renewable energy
Aug 24, 2010 - McClatchy-Tribune
Regional News - Mohammad Ben Hussein Jordan Times,
Amman - Call for Action
The Jordan Engineers Association (JEA)
on Wednesday called on the government to promote
the use of alternative sources of energy to meet
the rising demand for electricity.
During a meeting held at the JEA headquarters
yesterday, experts highlighted the importance of
adopting innovative methods to generate energy as
an alternative to traditional energy sources such
With the Kingdom facing financial pressures as a
result of fluctuating oil prices, the government
should adopt policies to encourage the use of alternative
energy including oil shale, Sameer Sheikh, president
of the JEA mining department, said during the seminar.
Experts also called on the government to facilitate
investment in the mining of valuable metals and minerals.
"We have untapped resources of valuable metals
and minerals scattered across the Kingdom but we
are not taking advantage of them. If we can make
use of the available copper and other minerals, the
Kingdom's situation could be much better," Sheikh
told The Jordan Times on the sidelines of the seminar.
Experts said high production costs due to rising
fuel prices means that local products are no longer
able to compete with products on the international
They highlighted the importance of tapping into
oil shale as well as uranium reserves in order to
provide the country with its energy requirements,
adding that renewable energy could be the solution
for energy-efficient industries.
Officials attributed the difficulties to tapping
alternative energy sources to unfavourable global
market conditions, a rise in wind energy turbine
prices, challenges in obtaining project financing,
and the relatively small size of the Jordanian market.
The National Energy Strategy calls for 10 per cent
of the Kingdom's energy mix to come from renewable
sources and 30 per cent solar water heater penetration
The recently endorsed Renewable Energy Law established
the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Fund,
which currently holds JD20 million in treasury funds,
to support alternative energy initiatives.
The government recently vetted international offers
for the construction of a an 80-90 megawatt (MW)
windfarm in Fujeij near Shobak, some 200 kilometres
south of the capital. The government is also looking
to establish a 40MW wind plant in Kamshah, north
of Jerash, to be built on a build-operate-transfer
basis with financing provided by the World Bank.
Energy imports cost the Kingdom 13 per cent of its
gross domestic product in 2009, with electricity
demand expected to grow 7 per cent annually over
the next decade.