By Hana Namrouqa – May 26,2018

AMMAN — In three years’ time, a total of 20 per cent of electricity consumed by the water sector will be generated with renewable energy, under the Water and Irrigation Ministry’s new “self-reliance” approach, government officials said.

The ministry is currently implementing five mega renewable energy projects to reach this goal, Minister of Water and Irrigation Ali Ghezawi said, indicating that the ministry is exploring Jordan’s “abundant solar and wind resources”.

“The projects are under way; they are designed to generate 328 megawatts per year and are being implemented at a cost of JD225 million. Once completed, the wind and solar projects will save the ministry JD32.6 million per year in energy costs,” Ghezawi highlighted.

The minister underlined that the water sector pays 50 per cent of its energy operation costs, which is saddling its budget.

“The coming phase is the phase of self-reliance; we are planning to boost the sector’s operation capacity, explore renewable energy and put an end to water loss,” he noted.

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

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 report.

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 report said.

Meanwhile, ministry’s spokesperson, Omar Salameh, told The Jordan Times that the five renewable energy projects are among the several projects aimed at expanding 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.

“In addition to the mega renewable energy projects, the ministry is operating several of its pumping stations and well generation systems via solar power, especially in remote areas. The ultimate goal is to reduce reliance on conventional energy sources, reduce pollution and also achieve self-reliance,” Salameh highlighted.