Renewable energy advances

Our Guest today is the executive manager of the Jordan Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Fund, which is a governmental institution affiliated with the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources. We are hosting our guest today for a Dialogue related to several issues regarding renewable energy and energy consumption.

Dr. Rasmi Hamzeh, welcome to Al-Mo’asher and Amman TV.

Rasmi Hamzeh: Thank you.

At first, let’s start talking about the importance of renewable energy in the Jordanian economy.

Rasmi Hamzeh: Thank you so much for this important interview and we congratulate you on launching Amman TV, we need more media institutions that really conveys the message and achievements of our country in a new, professional manner as I have seen on Amman TV. The issue of renewable energy is a Jordanian National strategy, it is not an urgent economic issue, it comes within the Jordanian strategic mind towards clean energy sources and to meeting Global requirements, in relevance with climate change problems in the world. In addition, it is a global trend, Jordan believed in it as one of the most important causes behind the Jordanian economy’s success because of all the big investment, and economical chances that it will create this would benefit the national economy and the Jordanian state. You know that we have huge problems regarding the energy sector and water as well, water-energy nexus and this is an issue, Jordan now is heading steady steps towards solving the crisis and we can say we achieved very positive results.

This is what I would want to discuss with you. Regarding the Jordan Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Fund of which you are the Executive Manager, what are the funds achievements since it was founded in 2015 until 2018? It is known that it has several achievements in the field of renewable energy.

Rasmi Hamzeh: During three years, the fund was able to design a group of projects to implement measures, programs and projects related to renewable energy and energy efficiency, it covers and includes various sectors. It is currently executing nine major projects, all of them cover various sectors and at the same time it deals with the State’s basic needs. The most important project which we are currently executing is His Majesty’s initiative for schools heating and that included several regions in the Kingdom, we especially started with colder regions. In 2017, we completed 128 schools with measures of energy efficiency and renewable energy, all these schools depend on solar cells as a source for electricity generation, they have heating, cooling, measures for energy saving, which are maintained periodically, and adequate lighting, in addition to an appropriate learning environment. We also started working with the household sector, which is the most important one. In 2017 we installed 12.000 solar heaters for 12.000 houses in different governorates in the Kingdom, we also installed solar cells and were able to install 1600 solar systems for 1600 houses, in each system there are 2kW so that it provides basic needs for each house. We also executed a program for energy saving LED lamps through cooperation with electricity companies and through offering 5 lamps as a gift for each house as an attempt to try and reduce energy consumption in the household system mainly. We completed the hotels region in Petra with measures for saving energy consumption there by at least 60% for hotels, we increased their competitive ability. Today in the renewable energy sector we talk proudly about ourselves, in Jordan we have a success story. For example, we have the largest wind farm in the MENA region, this is one of the biggest success stories. Also the solar complex in Ma’an is also a success story for the private sector and the government which supported this issue, also the Jordanian investment institutions that supported this investment significantly. The renewable energy sector provided many job opportunities for the youth, also opened up new horizons for new majors in universities. Today we are talking about a long-term economic and social investment, not only the energy sector.

Some people see that costs are high for possessing renewable energy in Jordan, especially since we know the economic status of people in Jordan. What do you think of that, is it really high?

Rasmi Hamzeh: Honestly, I do not think so. Now things are better, meaning that a 2 kW system for a house used to cost 3 years ago around JOD 4 .000, today the installment costs JOD 1400 through our program in the Energy Fund and this is a huge decrease in the cost of solar systems. In fact, I encourage all houses to invest in this natural treasure granted to us in Jordan. By the way, in Jordan we have the highest radiation in the region because our environment is clean and this helps.

It is said that Ma’an has 286 days a year of clear natural sunlight.

Rasmi Hamzeh: Not only sunlight. In addition, our environment is clean, we have no dust. For example, a solar cell in the Gulf region needs cleaning 2-3 times a day, but in our region it is the opposite, as it needs cleaning each week or two. Therefore, what matters to us now, as a government, is what the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources is doing, the Minister in particular Dr. Saleh Al-Kharabsheh, who is managing this file in order to apply the appropriate combination technically and economically so that we can continue moving forward in renewable energy projects and at the same time managing what we have in hand, also opening up new investment horizons especially with our ambitions to connect with Iraq and Syria. We are currently already connected with Egypt and Saudi Arabia. Therefore, connecting with our neighboring countries provides chances for major projects for the purpose of export only not domestic consumption.

In conclusion Dr. we would like you to inform the audience of Al-Mo’asher of the future plans you have in the Jordan Renewable Energy And Energy Efficiency Fund.

Rasmi Hamzeh: We will continue, the Fund will continue providing programs in the schools sector during 2018, we’re hoping for a another golden year, we are very proud of what we have achieved in 2017, we achieved big projects, as the total cost of our projects was around 50 million, we provided several job opportunities through these projects, also several companies contracted with us to execute these projects. We caused a new movement in the market and this is also something we are very proud of, it is an important role for the Fund. We also attracted international grants. As for this year’s projects, we will continue in the household sector, in addition to the industry sector, the tourism sector, we will cover Madaba during March and Aqaba during summer, later we are targeting houses of worship, both mosques and churches, in addition to governmental buildings, we will go on with our energy efficiency and renewable energy projects for governmental buildings. Additionally, we have comprehensive awareness programs, in 2017 we implemented a comprehensive awareness campaign, you might have seen it on TV, radios, boards in the streets. This year we will do the same. In addition to enhancing our abilities which lie in the local institutions and local partners in different governorates of the Kingdom. This will result in investing for creating a new and positive environment regarding our projects, to make the people feel there is something being given to them directly with direct economic and social benefits from the Energy Fund, the Energy Ministry and the Jordanian government, which is direct financial support that we pay on behalf of the citizens. Of course supporting any creativity and inventions in the field of renewable energy. We are also investing this year in this combination of programs. We hope to achieve our national goals, and the goals of the National Energy Efficiency Action Plan we designed, which is now awaiting approval from the Cabinet.

Dr. Rasmi Hamzeh, the Executive Manager of the Jordan Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Fund, thank you so much for this valuable interview and thanks to our viewers for watching Al-Mo’asher, we will see you next time.