USTDA AWARDS GRANTS IN THE ENERGY AND TRANSPORTATION SECTORS IN JORDAN
Following through on Administration's Commitment to Advance Clean Energy Development
AMMAN, JORDAN (August 9, 2009) – Underscoring President Obama's commitment to supporting growth and development in the Middle East region, USTDA Acting Director Leocadia I. Zak today conferred two grants to further Jordanian priorities in the energy and transportation sectors. In addition, Acting Director Zak announced plans to support a solar energy project in the Ma'an Development Area, a USTDA-funded reverse trade mission to the United States for Jordanian officials on renewable energy, and a regional electricity conference. The implementation of the projects associated with these grants, reverse trade mission, and conference also represent significant commercial opportunities for the export of U.S. goods and services.
"With these grants and upcoming events, USTDA is pleased to further efforts to develop renewable energy resources and transportation infrastructure in the Middle East as a foundation for economic growth," said Zak. "We have seen considerable success from our partnerships with other strong project sponsors in Jordan and we look forward to similar results from our actions today."
The grant signing ceremony was hosted by Her Excellency Suhair Al-Ali, Minister of Planning and International Cooperation (MOPIC), at MOPIC's offices in Amman. Minister Al-Ali and Acting Director Zak signed both of the grant agreements on behalf of the Jordanian and U.S. governments, respectively. Chargé d'Affaires Lawrence Mandel from the U.S. Embassy in Amman signed as a witness to the grant agreements.
The first grant, in the amount of $370,000, will support Jordan's goal of incorporating renewable energy into its electric power grid by funding technical assistance to the National Electric Power Company on the Jordanian electrical system. The assistance will identify newly required reliability assessments, which will provide power to households and protect the system during blackouts and brownouts. It will also support future grid expansion and modernization plans, including actions necessary to accommodate increased use of renewable energy.
Acting Director Zak also announced that USTDA is currently working with International for Energy Technology Industries (also known as Millennium Energy Industries) towards a feasibility study for a proposed Concentrated Solar Power project in the Ma'an Development Area in Jordan, using the technology of US-based eSolar, Inc. The implementation of the facility would further Jordan's goal of increasing its use of clean and renewable sources of energy and decreasing its dependence on imported fossil fuels.
Acting Director Zak also announced that USTDA will fund an reverse trade mission to the United States for representatives of the Jordanian public and private sector on renewable energy generation projects and increased energy efficiency. The delegates will participate in the PowerGen conference to be held December 8-10, 2009 in Las Vegas, Nevada, and will be exposed to U.S. businesses and technologies.
In further support of energy development, Acting Director Zak unveiled plans to sponsor a regional electricity conference in Cairo, Egypt in 2010. The conference will examine issues and projects in electricity generation and distribution in the Middle East and North Africa, including capacity building, transport, storage, water needs, and electricity interconnection. Projects from throughout the region, including Jordan, will be highlighted during the planned conference.
In addition to the activities launched today promoting the development of abundant and reliable power resources, USTDA awarded a $418,010 grant in the transportation sector to the Aqaba Development Corporation for a feasibility study on a Vessel Traffic System (VTS) and an Integrated Port Communications Information System at the Port of Aqaba. The VTS will promote trade by tracking vessel movements and providing navigational safety in the Gulf of Aqaba. The Jordanian government will provide additional resources toward the completion of the study.
The opportunities to conduct the USTDA-funded studies pursuant to the grants awarded today will be competed separately on the Federal Business Opportunities (FBO) website. Links to the FBO announcements will be posted to USTDA's website at www.ustda.gov. Interested U.S. firms should submit proposals according to the instructions in the FBO announcements. The Jordanian government will select the U.S. firms that will perform the studies associated with the grants.
The U.S. Trade and Development Agency advances economic development and U.S. commercial interests in developing and middle-income countries. The agency funds various forms of technical assistance, early investment analysis, training, reverse trade missions and business workshops that support the development of a modern infrastructure and a fair, open trading environment. USTDA's strategic use of foreign assistance funds to support sound investment policy and decision-making in host countries creates an enabling environment for trade, investment and sustainable economic development. In carrying out its mission, USTDA gives emphasis to economic sectors that may benefit from U.S. exports of goods and services.