Jericho in Palestine will light up with solar power thanks to Japanese initiative.
The Japanese government has agreed to assist the Palestinian Authority with two solar energy projects totaling $23 million, according to the Palestinian Maan News Agency.
Part of the funds, $16.7 million, will be used to assist in alleviating the Authority’s financial difficulties, with the remaining $6.3 million going to construct a photovoltaic solar energy plant in Jericho, just above the Dead Sea.
The solar power plant will be the first of it’s kind in the P.A. and will supply electric power to the city’s electric power grid as well as for a future industrial area to be built with Japan in the Jordan Valley, as part of a “peace and prosperity” initiative.
Until now, a great deal of the electricity used by the Palestinians has come from Israel’s national power grid. By installing a solar energy plant in a city like Jericho, which is just north of the Dead Sea, and in an area of concentrated sunlight, the plant should be able to supply power to more than 20,000 residents in what is said to be the lowest permanently inhabited city on earth.
The agreement was signed between Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyed, and Japan’s envoy to the PA, Naofumi Hashimoto. While being the first large scale solar energy project planned for the Palestinians located in the West Bank, it could be followed by another project involving the Dead Sea, if the proposed “Red-Dead” canal project is begun, and the Palestinian Authority participates in its construction. The canal is planned to supply electricity and desalinated drinking water, a portion of which will be used by the Palestinians, as well as by Israel and Jordan.
Hopefully, these funds will be used for the good of the Palestinian people and not be squandered or siphoned away by the PA’s leaders as was often the case in the past, especially when PLO leader Yassir Arafat became the PA’s first Chairman in 1994, following the signing of the Oslo Accords.
During the period between 1994 and the Second Intifada in September, 2000 millions of dollars in aid from a number of countries were said to have disappeared into the personal bank accounts of Arafat and other Palestinian officials.
The agreed solar energy project will hopefully the start of a number of clean tech development projects that will help to improve the Palestinian economy as well as their quality of life.
Photo via MyGuide2Jerusalem