Chairman of electricity regulatory commission, Ahmed Hyasat, told ANSAmed that demand on electricity in Jordan is increasing considerably and alternatives energy sources is becoming essential to the aid dependent kingdom. He said the kingdom aims to achieve 10% of its total energy demand in 2020 using renewable energy.
Investment in Renewable Energy (RE) is another promising field for investment in Jordan. ''The parliament has recently issued the renewable energy Law. This already opened many investment opportunities. More than 60 international companies have already submitted proposals to the Energy Ministry to compete for possible investment in this important and promising field,'' he said.
Jordan imports from Egypt gas that powers up electric generation stations in the south but recent turmoil in Egypt saw the kingdom pushed to seek alternative sources of gas. The financial bill is becoming increasingly difficult to handle in a country that already suffers from lack of financial resources and heavily depends on foreign aid to keep its fragile economy going.
According to Hyasat, some of the most significant challenges facing the kingdom in terms of electricity supply include; high dependency on imported energy (95% import in 2010), high cost (the energy imports accounted for 13.3% of GDP in 2010), high growth of primary energy demand, electricity consumption has been doubling up ever 10 years in Jordan, while this is a positive economic development indicator and a sign of rising standard of living, it can also be alarming for a country that depends almost entirely on foreign supply of oil and gas to generate power, among other issues. He said the National electricity Power Company (NEPCO) looks for best interest of the kingdom's energy needs through applying the government policy of restructuring the electricity sector on bases of equity of fairness, and balanced regulation of the sector. It also ensures that electricity companies are providing high quality safe services, provide electricity services with acceptable competitive prices, encourage investment in the sector, protect interest of consumers and overview, monitor and solve complains submitted by consumers.
''ERC receives hundreds of complaints each year and addresses them in a satisfactory approach,'' he said. On achievements of the regulatory commission, Hyasat outlined a number of areas where he believes the authority was able to make substantial progress including: creation of confidence in the electricity sector which lead to increasing the participation and investment of private sector.
Other achievements include passing of a range of by-laws, regulations and instructions are currently in force, the establishments of Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Law. ''This is a major step forward that allows the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources to work in closer collaboration with other entities to conserve energy and increase energy efficiency in different sectors of the economy. The law also sets incentives to promote renewable energy utilization in Jordan as well as establishing the Jordan Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Fund (JREEEF),'' he said.
On the regional Mediterranean regulation commission project, Hyasat believes there are there are differences in the maturity of energy markets between different MEDREG countries (MEDREG is the network of Mediterranean energy authorities). ''We still need to do more work under the umbrella of MEDREG ad hoc groups to reach to a final draft for the regulatory agreements that could be help in establishing Mediterranean energy market and regulatory framework,'' he said.
But Hayasat admits Jordan has much to gain from its partnership within the MEDREG project including exchange of experience in the regulation and open market mechanisms. Jordan is involved in all MEDREG ad hoc groups (electricity, institutional, gas, environmental and RE), and this helps us in the exchange of information and surveys, he said.
Hyasat concluded that Jordan fully supports EU efforts to strengthen MEDREG since this has a very positive impact on Jordan's electricity sector and enhances ERC experience knowledge and capabilities in legal and technical expertise, as well as across-the-border interconnections in order to develop a Mediterranean interconnected network. (ANSAmed).