AMMAN — Enefit Jordan announced in a press statement on Tuesday that it has received approval from the Ministry of Environment to proceed with its oil shale fired power plant in the Kingdom.
“The approval was given following a review by a committee appointed by the ministry of a detailed third party Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) submitted by Enefit,” the press release said, noting that the EIA was conducted by an independent international consultant and covers the entire lifetime of the project from “cradle to grave”.
It added that in accordance with environmental standards and regulations of the EU, World Bank and the IFC, the EIA provided a comprehensive review of the impact of the project on all environmental and social factors including water usage, soil, air, socio-economic impacts in addition to the eventual completion of operations and remediation of the project area.
Andres Anijalg, project director for Enefit Jordan, stated in the press release: “We are now one step closer to making this project a reality and leveraging Jordan’s abundant oil shale resources to overcome the energy challenges the Kingdom is facing. The approval of the EIA is a major milestone and confirms that this project, the advanced technology involved and the various environmental protection measures that we have put in place will ensure there will be minimal impact to the local environment and the local community.”
Anijalg added: “A proper EIA requires a lot of time and effort and we have worked on this for 2 years. The first step was to establish a baseline analysis of the project area with regards to environmental, cultural and socio-economic aspects. Another important factor was monitoring of the weather in the area which is conducted over an entire year with the data collected and carefully analysed. The EIA has confirmed that the project area is close to optimal.”
Due to the advances in oil shale technology in recent years, the environmental impact has been significantly reduced. In accordance with EU environmental regulations, Enefit’s project in Jordan will use circulating fluidised bed technology, ensuring minimum environmental impact. Furthermore, in order to minimise water usage, the plant will be an air-cooled plant reducing the need for water.
According to the press release, the power plant is scheduled to start generating electricity for local consumption by 2017. It will have a capacity of approximately 500MW and is expected to reduce the Kingdom’s expenditure on the import of oil products for power generation by more than JD350 million a year. The project will also create thousands of jobs and provide a wide range of economic benefits for the Kingdom.
Enefit Jordan is owned by Enefit (Eesti Energia AS), YTL Power International Berhad of Malaysia and Near East Investments Limited of Jordan.