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Jordan Energy Crisis Requires an ALL JORDANIAN Solution January 30, 2012

Posted by aboosh in Egypt, Jordan, Renewable Energy.
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1 comment so far

A few days ago, I wrote a blog post about the imminent energy crisis in Jordan in the coming summer. The amount of losses that the power production in Jordan amount to about $1.8B annually. This is economically unsustainable, when compared to Jordan’s GDP of $30B ($3B of that in the form of money transfer from professionals working outside Jordan’s borders).

The main reason for these losses is the conversion to heavy fuel from the now-not-so-dependable Egyptian gas, whose pipeline was bombed 10 times in 2011. The losses are expected to weigh heavily on the Jordanians pockets, as there is a move to increase the electricity tariffs, which has already started. The increase in the tariffs will affect the citizens in a compounded way, through direct increases in the power bills, and the increase in the basic supplies due to the increase in the cost of production, transportation, and storage. The planned increase in the governmental pay, and the inflation offset raise, might be offset by this increase in living expenses, making the whole process DOA.

We have called to move Jordan to renewable clean energy, namely solar, as a part of a large strategic shift away from Jordan’s dependency on imported fossil fuel. The increased power bill makes the investment in solar energy production more feasible and attainable to more Jordanians. We all welcomed the news of the approved project to supply the city of Tafilah with solar panels based on the more-affordable solar-micro-converter technology. We believe that this is one of the stepping stones needed to market clean solar power in Jordan. We also keep the pressure on to compile and approve the Regulations of the Renewable Energy Law of 2010, particularly Article-10, which gives the individuals and groups the ability to sell the electricity over-runs back to the power grid at competitive prices.

All of this has been bright and peachy, pointing positively to a multi-fauceted movement towards solar energy production as a way to give Jordan its energy independence… Until we saw this: Regional Solar Grid in Jordan Valley with Israeli cooperation. (Jordanian online news outlets reported on it as well, followed by an uproar on social media outlets like Facebook and Twitter).

Reasons of uproar? some complex, and some simple.

Where there is a public sentiment supporting denaturalization of the relationships with the Jewish State, this project comes as a very surprising step towards naturalization with Israel.

Jordan and the Jewish State, which have signed a peace treaty in October 26, 1994, have had strained relationships recently, especially due to the Right-Winged policies adopted by the Netanyahu government, and their stance about the two-state solution, the continuation of settlement policies in the West Bank, the Apartheid wall, the Transfer Project, Jerusalem de-Arabification, and, and (you get the idea).

This Peace Treaty has not brought about the Peace we all dream of reaching, and many scholars point to the Israeli policies (and mere presence) as one of the reasons of the Arab Populous Revolt, known as the Arab Spring, against their oppressive governments, which (Arab governments) are viewed by many of Arabs as having blanket support of Israel and its racists policies.

As for Jordan, Article-6 of this Treaty dealt with rightful allocation of water resources from Jordan and Yarmouk Rivers. However, this allocation have not seen the light of day due to the mistrust of all parties in the Jordan River basin, along with chronological drought and a population explosion in the last 15 years.

All of this, puts in focus and in question the politics of creating a “regional” solar power plant. And regional here means nothing less than Israel’s “security” and “interests” being forefront in such project, with ability to divert and hoard the project resources based on its own policies, not its partners/counterparts. All is needed is one switch, and boom, we are off-the-grid.

Having energy INdependence does NOT mean having energy INTER-dependence. We advocate an all Jordanian solution to the energy crisis. An all Jordanian solution means building the plant on a Jordanian land, with Jordanian control, and meeting the Jordanian needs.

I refuse to believe that the issue is financial, since there are many funding agencies that see in the stable political environment in Jordan as a positive reason to invest $100s of Millions for renewable energy in areas that does not see a cloud but a few days a year.

If Europe and US funding is tied to mutual project with the Jewish State, then we prefer going back to our tents and living off the land.

UPDATE: A Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources spokesperson came out today refuting the reports of this project. However, the case still remains for an expedited clean renewable energy policy that serves Jordan immediate needs, and sticking to the transparency of the government dealings in large scale projects. و لذا اقتضى التنويه

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-Updated- Open and Urgent Letter to Obama February 3, 2011

Posted by aboosh in Egypt, Jan25, Obama.
4 comments

-Updated-

Dear Mr. President,

This is your moment.

That was your moment. You blinked.

As the whole world is witnessing the tragic and disheartening events in Egypt unfold, the conscience of the world is still looking up to your leadership to take a solid stance to quill the massacre the peaceful protesters are subjected to in front of our eyes.

The protesters in Egypt have very concise and clear demands: For Mubarak and his regime to be decimated now, not in nine months; for the constitution to be changed to allow for legitimate and transparent presidential and parliamentary elections; to protect the basic rights of freedom of expression and freedom of peaceful assembly. The Brave People of Egypt deserve the liberty, dignity and equal human rights their fellow human beings enjoy all around the world.

Mr. President,

We are clinging to the last strings of faith in your leadership. We have seen the wrath of what heavy handed policies did to this troubled region. We realize that there are enough good and level-headed people in America and all over the world that are looking for peaceful and immediate conclusion to the tragedy in Egypt. We have looked up to the moment you became the President and shed tears of joy and relief when you took the reins of reversing the unbalanced tone and policies of your predecessor. We believed and bought into your calls for that all people can stand up for their rights of freedom and to achieve their aspirations.

Mr. President, the belief in your message is now crumbling and wavering. It is being held hostage in the name of a balance of interest that sounds a déjà vu to this troubled region. We are afraid our understanding of your message was wrong and afraid that the people you have addressed before have been abandoned. We are afraid for another generation of young people to be wasted and consumed by the tyrant few, in the name of strategic interest.

Mr President, do not throw a lifeline for an autocratic totalitarianism that will cease no chance but to take revenge against the free will of the people, and to grow even deeper roots in an angry soil that has said enough already.

Mr President, this is the moment of truth. This is the moment of test. What are words if they translate to nothing. In tough times like these, actions speak louder than words.We call on you to call for Mr. Mubarak to step down now and immediately, and to return power back to the people who have long looked for it.

Dear Mr. President, the eyes in Egypt and the whole world are looking towards you, and want a moment of truth. Do not let them turn down, then turn away.

Signed.

Youth of the World