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King inaugurates solar-run power plant at Royal Court

By JT - May 17,2015 - Last updated at May 17,2015

AMMAN — His Majesty King Abdullah on Sunday inaugurated a solar-run power plant with a 5.6-megawatt (MW) capacity at the premises of the Royal Court.

The project comes under His Majesty's directives to establish power plants that rely on renewable energy in order to cover the electricity needs of the Royal Court and Royal palaces, as well as decrease expenses and preserve the environment, a Royal Court statement said.

The private company that won the project tender completed it in eight months, Royal Court Secretary General Yousef Issawi said in a briefing to the King.

Issawi noted that the plant's experimental operation began three weeks ago, and it will now cover the electricity needs of the Royal Court and Al Husseiniya Palace.

He added that work is ongoing on the rest of the project's phases, which entail switching to solar energy at different locations affiliated with the Royal Court.

The project was implemented by the Royal Court’s Royal Engineering Administration in cooperation with the private sector, and similar projects will be carried out in Al Ghabawi, Qatraneh and Bergesh, the statement quoted Awwad Hijazi, the administration’s director, as saying.

The power plant will save JD2.8 million in electricity costs annually, and the project’s cost will be recovered in around three years, the statement said.

Also on Sunday, the government qualified technical offers by 24 local and international companies that are competing to build solar plants representing some 6-7 per cent of the grid’s current capacity.

Four out of the 24 companies will be selected and each will build a 50MW solar-fuelled power plant.

Through the renewable energy fund at the Energy Ministry, ministries and institutions can fund renewable energy projects in public sector institutions like schools, hospitals and mosques, the statement quoted Energy Minister Ibrahim Saif as saying at the inauguration ceremony, which was also attended by Prime Minister Abdullah Ensour.

According to the Energy and Minerals Regulatory Commission, by the end of 2015, around 330MW produced from solar and wind energies will be added to the national electricity grid as part of a comprehensive strategy aimed at increasing renewables’ contribution to the total energy mix.

The Kingdom has one of the highest annual daily averages of solar irradiance in the world with an estimated 330 days of sunshine per year.

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