Palestinian Engineers Get Sustainable Energy Sources Course in Hebron

hebron hevron house clothes drying photoThey’re already going eco: Hanging the clothes to dry, naturally, in Hebron. Image via andydr

Hebron (or Hevron) is a West Bank city run by the Palestinian Authority which is famous for being an ongoing powder barrel in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and an ongoing source of unrest between Israelis and Palestinians. But nowadays, when the economy in the Palestinian Authority is booming, the Palestine Polytechnic University in Hebron is a source for peacetime renewable energy projects, such as the first solar power electric car developed by its students and research.

There’s more good energy brewing in the West Bank: The Palestine Polytechnic University in Hebron also hosted a four-days international workshop in sustainable energy sources (links to Arabic) recently, sponsored by the US. 

hebron renewable energy course wind energy west bank photoThis workshop was jointly held by Prof. Akram Abu-Aisheh from the University of Hartford/USA and Prof. Sameer Khadir from Palestine Polytechnic University. It was organized by the Power Electronics and Signal Processing Research Unit at the Palestine Polytechnic University  with cooperation and financial support of the Department for Cultural Affairs in the Consulate of the United States in Jerusalem.

The aim of the workshop was to introduce and train Palestinian academic staff and engineers in the respective industrial sectors in the types of alternative energy sources, their applications and modeling.

Many academics and students who lecture or do research on environmental issues, engineering, and renewable energy took part in this workshop. The lectures dealt with wind energy systems, solar energy systems, sustainable energy, passive solar systems, active solar systems, computer simulation tools for solar energy systems, sustainable energy sources, wind energy simulation and more.

It should be mentioned that the Palestinian Authority has been dependent on Israel for its supply of electricity, and tries to develop other sources of sustainable energy in order not to be dependent on Israel and in order to improve the Palestinians’ lifestyle. One local company MENA Geothermal is trying to create alternative energy using heat from the ground, but much much more can be done.

As part of this effort, the Palestinian Authority established already in 1993 the Palestinian Energy and Environment Research Center as a national research and development institution responsible for research and implementation of renewable energies and energy efficiency in the Palestinian Authority. From 2007, it has been under the control of the Palestinian Energy Authority. Although this research center organized a few international workshops, until 2007 it could not do much because of the breakout of the Second Intifada.

Indeed, the end of the Second Intifada and the appointment of Salam Fayyad, who is caring for the well-being of the Palestinians and trying to improve their economic and social status, to be the Palestinian Prime Minister, paved the way to increasing the environmental awareness among the Palestinians as well as to creating new opportunities for environmental research and developments initiatives.

The international workshop in sustainable energy sources is an inseparable part of this process which is actively encouraged by Prime Minister Fayyad.

During the last year or so, the Palestinian Authority has started to encourage foreign investments, such as the building of the first ever solar energy plant in the Palestinian Authority in Jericho by the Japanese Government, and local research and initiatives, such as the cooperation between Israel and Palestinian companies in building and selling wind turbines in the West Bank, in developing sustainable energy sources.

Although the process of increasing the environmental awareness among the Palestinians as well as of creating new opportunities for environmental research and developments initiatives is still in its beginnings, it has a lot of potential to progress quickly, especially if the economy continues to boom and bloodshed is not about to return.

More on Renewable Energy in the Palestinian Authority:
The First Palestinian Solar EV Car Hits the Streets of Hebron
Good Wind Energy Between Palestine and Israel

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