Jordan to accelerate electrical connectivity with Saudi Arabia

Hala Zawati. (Twitter)
Updated 28 January 2019
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Jordan to accelerate electrical connectivity with Saudi Arabia

  • Amjad Rawashdeh: “We are talking about connecting our grid with Saudi Arabia, and strengthening our ability to exchange power with our neighbors in a mutually beneficial way”

AMMAN: Jordan will look to increase connectivity with its neighbors in order to improve efficient use of electricity in the region.
Speaking on Jordan Television’s “60 Minutes” program, the minister for energy and mineral resources, Hala Zawati, suggested that increasing Jordanian production of solar power would allow the country to export excess electricity to other countries during daylight hours, only buying fossil fuel-derived power at night, mostly from Saudi Arabia.
Amjad Rawashdeh, the director general of Jordan’s National Electric Power Company (NEPCO), said: “We are talking about connecting our grid with Saudi Arabia, and strengthening our ability to exchange power with our neighbors in a mutually beneficial way.”
Given the nature of solar power, he said, it was possible for Arab countries like Jordan to produce cheaper energy at different times of day, making it sensible to improve connectivity between nations to save money for their consumers.
He added that NEPCO expected it would take some time to achieve, given practical differences between the countries’ grids, but that all parties were “serious” about improving energy connectivity, affordability and efficiency: “We in Jordan welcome this idea. It is a win-win for both sides.
“In Saudi Arabia they work on 60 hertz while we work on 50 hertz. We will need to find a way to overcome this technical difference, but we will. Cooperation with Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries is our priority.”
Basel Burgan, an environment and energy commentator in Jordan, believes the plan has merit.
“This is a smart idea. We have many solar projects that are very inexpensive. We can produce electricity using solar power for JOD 0.170 ($0.239) per kilowatt, which is much cheaper than producing it from gas burners that costs JOD 0.50 per kilowatt,” he said.
“Solar is extremely affordable; therefore, it is wise for us to sell it in the day, and buy Saudi electricity when the sun is down.”


US Mideast plan will not include land transfer from Egypt’s Sinai: envoy

Updated 20 April 2019
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US Mideast plan will not include land transfer from Egypt’s Sinai: envoy

JERUSALEM: US President Donald Trump’s Middle East peace plan will not involve giving land from Egypt’s Sinai peninsula to the Palestinians, an American envoy said on Friday.
Jason Greenblatt, Trump’s Middle East envoy, apparently sought to deny reports on social media that the long-awaited plan to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict would involve extending Gaza into the northern Sinai along Egypt’s Mediterranean coast.
“Hearing reports our plan includes the concept that we will give a portion of Sinai (which is Egypt’s) to Gaza. False!,” Greenblatt, one of the architects of the proposal, tweeted on Friday.
The American plan is expected to be unveiled once Israel’s newly re-elected Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu forms a government coalition and after the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, which ends in June.
Trump’s senior adviser Jared Kushner said on Wednesday the plan would require compromise by all parties, a source familiar with his remarks said.
It is unclear whether the plan will propose outright the creation of a Palestinian state, the Palestinians’ core demand.
The Palestinians have long sought to set up a state in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, territory Israel captured in the 1967 Middle East War, with East Jerusalem as its capital.
The last round of US-brokered peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians broke down in 2014.