The volume of Arab and foreign investments attracted by Jordan in the field of energy stands at about $5 billion, the prime minister said on Sunday at the 3rd Jordan International Energy Summit in which some 500 experts, businesspeople and officials from 40 countries took part.

The volume of investment, like the number of attendees, cannot be seen but as a vote of confidence in the energy policy of the country, which plans to expand reliance on local energy resources through projects in the field of renewable energy.

Investments in the field, said the premier, “came in light of the government’s support to the sector and its keenness to boost its competitiveness in line with high standards and in a transparent manner”.

They are also due to the country’s extensive experience in boosting reliance on local energy sources, based on the national energy strategy, which is a blueprint that guides the sector.

Projects completed or in the process of construction are in the fields of renewable energy, oil shale and nuclear energy for power generation; in parallel, efforts have been intensified in the field of oil and gas exploration and in regional electricity projects.

Reliance on local renewable energy sources is a top priority, and that is how it should be, considering that the country is blessed with plenty of sun and wind, and large reserves of oil shale that have yet to be tapped to benefit economically.

The contribution of renewable energy to the overall energy mix will reach 20 per cent by 2020, according to the minister of energy.

The country’s efforts in the domain clearly paid up: the country’s energy bill was reduced to JD2.5 billion at the end of 2016, which represents 11 per cent of the GDP, while it stood at JD5 billion three years earlier, when it accounted for 20 per cent of the GDP.

This can help put the national economy on a sounder footing, given the fact that energy costs play a big role in boosting industry, services and agriculture.

An added advantage of greater reliance on renewable forms of energy will be a cleaner environment, with clear impact on the health of the country.

The much talked-about Red Sea-Dead Sea conveyance project should not be forgotten either; much hope is being pinned on it for electricity generation.

In view of the important role the energy sector plays in driving economic growth and in contributing to sustainable development in the country, no endeavour is big enough to ensure it gets all the support it needs and the much-needed investments to boost its potential.

The energy summit is one such effort. More, and imaginative ones, are needed.