"Jordan has to reduce its dependency on foreign energy sources"

Teaser Image Caption
A gas station in Jordan.
This is an archived article

1. What is the current Jordanian energy policy?

In December 2007 King Abdullah II formed The Strategy of Energy Sector in Jordan for the period 2007-2020. The strategy seeks to achieve energy supply security and diminish dependence on external energy sources by using national resources. The purpose of the strategy is inter alia to develop a plan and a timeline program to promote alternative energy solutions and to identify technical, financial and legislative requirements to implement renewable energy solutions. In 2020, Jordan shall meet 29% of its energy needs from natural gas, 14% from oil shale, 10% from renewable energies and 6% from nuclear energy. Furthermore, the energy consumption shall be reduced by improving the energy use. But, legal initiatives in the energy sector are still time-consuming processes and without` an active government it is unclear whether the recent disruption will speed up the necessity of taking the next steps. The contribution of the local sources in the primary energy mix shall, after all, increase to 39% in the year 2020, while the contribution of foreign sources in the primary energy mix shall decrease from 96% to 61% in the year 2020. How the next government will continue the process remains to be seen, but-taking the overall circumstances into account, there is a high risk of losing sight of it.

2. How will Jordan ensure that electricity supply is not going to be disrupted by the cut in natural gas supplies?

Jordan has sufficient reserves of diesel and heavy oil for approximately 20-30 days. For the time being, the electricity generation will not be affected by the cut in natural gas supplies. But it has to be taken into consideration that the switch to diesel and heavy oil for electricity generation will be a huge financial burden to the government. The disruption may incur extra cost of 2.5-4 million US Dollars per day; the pipeline will be closed until repairs on it are completed, but there are no guarantees that it will be done quickly. Regarding the whole year 2011, the extra costs could amount to 0.5- 1 Billion US Dollars.

3. What effects could the latest events have on the energy sector and Jordan’s energy policy respectively?

In the light of the aforesaid, it is very important that the next government sticks to the energy strategy that was formulated in 2007. Furthermore, the latest events demonstrate Jordan’s dependency on external energy sources; it is a matter of fact that 96% of Jordan’s energy is imported. Jordan is forced to reduce its dependency on imported energy, but the next government has to move fast. The energy strategy was implemented in December 2007 and in February 2011, three years later, there is still no sufficient initiative to promote sustainable energy concepts. Although Jordan possesses high potential of wind energy resources, this sector has been gravely neglected. In the past, people often focused too much on the opportunities nuclear energy may offer. Due to technical reasons nuclear energy is the last option that should be taken into consideration: The financial burden, health aspects, waste, maintenance, these are all unanswered questions and unsolved problems. More than ever it is very clear that something like the Chernobyl accident must on no account be allowed to occur again neither in Jordan nor elsewhere in the world. There is an urgent need for action with regard to utilizing the potential of renewable energies. This latest event will hopefully speed up the next government’s engagement in finding sustainable energy solution.