By Dana Al Emam – Jun 11,2015 – Last updated at Jun 11,2015

AMMAN — The energy challenges facing the Kingdom are ones of management, not a lack of resources, according to a sector insider.

“The most important element in energy management is reducing consumption, a matter that is not yet publically addressed at a level suitable to its significance,” said Ayoub Abu-Dayyeh, president of the Energy Conservation and Sustainable Environment Society.

In an interview with The Jordan Times on the sidelines of a two-day workshop on energy and sustainability, Abu-Dayyeh said reducing energy consumption will lower Jordan’s energy bill by 15-20 per cent over the next three years.

The first step is utilising existing local energy resources, mainly oil shale to produce oil and generate electricity, he added, highlighting the need to continue to invest in solar, wind and geothermal power projects.

“The 2012 Renewable Energy Law set the ground for encouraging renewable energy projects, however the procedures of rehabilitation and implementation are slowing down the process,” Abu-Dayyeh said, citing the “complicated” process for investors and homeowners seeking to install solar systems to generate electricity.

These complications include lengthy procedures, high prices and the lack of funding.

“The time has come for the government, which complains of high energy costs, to allow the people to share the burden of producing energy,” Abu-Dayyeh said, describing this partnership as “the best form of democracy”.

Jordan’s aspirations towards increasing the contribution of renewable energy to the total energy mix remain “very low”, he argued.

The country plans for renewable energy to form 10 per cent of the energy mix by 2020.

“Some EU countries have achieved percentages that reach up to 20 per cent years ago, with other countries reaching up to 60 per cent, despite the fact that Jordan’s solar potential exceeds theirs,” Abu-Dayyeh noted.

He called for incorporating material in school curricula that identifies Jordan’s resources to children and educates them on sustaining the environment, adding that media outlets also share the responsibility of educating the public on the issue to address the rise in energy demand in the coming decades.

“This topic affects people’s pockets, as well as their health, future and well-being.”

Individuals and institutions could reduce their consumption by changing simple behaviours such as choosing energy-efficient electric devices and applying thermal insulation methods in existing buildings and those under construction.

“Insulation, in its several forms, could decrease the electricity bill by 50-80 per cent,” Abu-Dayyeh said, stressing the importance of installing solar systems and keeping solar panels free of dust to sustain high efficiency.

He also called for performing regular maintenance on windows and doors to minimise heat loss from buildings.

The workshop, organised by the German Friedrich-Ebert Foundation, aimed at familiarising some 25 media personnel with issues related to energy.