by JT | Sep 17, 2013 | 22:24

AMMAN — The government, in cooperation with USAID, is implementing a $19 million Energy Sector Capacity Building (ESCB) activity to create future energy security for Jordan.

“The ESCB promotes energy efficiency, building institutional capacity and strengthening energy companies,” a USAID statement said on Tuesday.

The four-year project is implemented by Deloitte Consulting, LLP, in partnership with Jordanian consulting firm ECO Consult, and US-based National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners, Alliance to Save Energy, Quanta, and Technology Transition Company, the statement said.

The first priority for the ESCB is “establishing a utility incentive to promote energy efficiency by April 2014”.

This mechanism will provide “the regulatory environment needed to make energy efficiency programmes a beneficial endeavour for utilities”, according to USAID.

“Increasing domestic energy through major energy infrastructure projects takes years to develop. In the short term, reducing demand through energy efficiency is part of the solution,” the statement quoted USAID Mission Director Beth Paige as saying.

“The recent political uprising in Egypt underscores the urgency behind the plan. Nearly 90 per cent of Jordan’s electricity is powered via Egypt’s Arab Gas Pipeline. In times of unrest, attacks on the pipeline increase, costing Jordan $2 billion in 2012 alone,” the statement said.

To ensure sustainability, the ESCB is working with “key Jordanian energy partners”, including the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources, the Electricity Regulatory Commission, the Jordanian Electric Power Company, the Electricity Distribution Company, the Irbid District Electricity Company and the National Electric Power Company.

The ESCB will further strengthen energy service companies, “which play an important role implementing energy efficiency projects”, according to USAID.

“The American people [have] provided more than $6.5 billion in economic assistance to Jordan since 1952, of which $4.2 billion came between 2000-2010,” according to the statement.