By Hana Namrouqa – Apr 21,2017

AMMAN — Five of the Kingdom’s main water pumping stations will operate on solar power by next year to reduce the water sector’s energy consumption, officials announced on Thursday.

Solar power plants will be built at the site of five major pumping stations, officials said, indicating that installation of the solar plants will be funded by a grant worth 30 million euros from the European Union.

The water sector consumes over 15 per cent of the country’s total power production, Minister of Water and Irrigation Hazem Nasser said in a statement to The Jordan Times, indicating that the project seeks to reduce the sector’s reliance on conventional energy sources.

“The five solar power plants will be built to generate a total of 25-30 megawatts per year… The initiative seeks to reduce the sector’s consumption of electricity and to broaden its use of renewable energy technologies to ultimately protect the environment and limit the fluctuating cost of energy in the water sector,” Nasser said in the statement.

The solar power plants will be built at Zai Water Treatment Plant, Zara-Maeen Water Treatment Plant, Wadi Al Arab Pumping Station, Zaatari Pumping Station and Azraq Pumping Station, according to the ministry.

Construction of the solar power plants has started, Ministry Spokesperson Omar Salameh told The Jordan Times on Thursday, noting that the solar power plants, to be built applying the wheeling system, are scheduled to be operational by 2018.

Salameh noted that building the five solar power plants is among the several projects to expand the water sector’s shift to renewable energy, adding that, in 2015, the ministry announced its Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Policy for the Jordanian Water Sector.

The policy seeks to achieve a 15 per cent reduction in energy consumption of billed water by the year 2025, corresponding to a 0.46 kilogramme reduction of carbon dioxide emissions for the production of each billed cubic metre of water.

According to the 2013 Annual Report of the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources, power requirements in 2013 for water pumping alone amounted to about 14 per cent of the country’s total power production, with a total amount of 1,424 gigawatt hours.

Given that the water sector is highly subsidised, the total energy bill paid by the Water Ministry in 2013 amounted to JD100 million, according to the policy.

Assuming that current operational patterns are sustained, real power costs for water pumping are estimated to amount to JD640 million by the year 2025, the policy said.