Israeli energy minister in Abu Dhabi to advance water-for-electricity plan

A four-way agreement is in the works between the UAE, Israel, Jordan and the U.S. to send Israeli-desalinated water to Jordan in exchange for solar energy.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

Energy and Infrastructure Minister Yisrael Katz met Monday with ministers of the UAE and Jordan and an American representative in Abu Dhabi to advance a unique “water for electricity” plan in the region.

The Prosperity Initiative envisions the production in Israel of 200 million cubic meters of desalinated water per year that would be piped to Jordan, which suffers from severe water scarcity. In parallel, the UAE would finance the construction of a solar farm in Jordan that could export to Israel 600 megawatts of green electricity to help Jerusalem meet its environment-friendly energy goals.

Katz brought along a slew of Israeli officials to hammer out details with their Jordanian counterparts and their host, Emirati Industry and Technology Minister Dr. Sultan AL-Jaber, who is also expected to preside over this coming November’s UN-backed climate change conference, known as COP28.

They were joined by U.S. Senior Advisor on the Climate David Livingston.

Time is running short, as a binding, four-way agreement on the project between the U.S., UAE, Jordan and Israel is expected to be signed at the COP28 gathering in Dubai, which Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is expecting to attend.

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After the meeting, Katz tweeted that they had “made great progress towards the realization of this historic project.” Furthermore, he said, he also invited al-Jaber to visit Israel, and they agreed that the two countries would cooperate “in projects promoting energy and green energy.”

“The Abraham Accords are changing the Middle East,” Katz stated, referring to the 2020 agreement that normalized relations between Israel and the Gulf countries of Bahrain and the UAE as well as Morocco and, later, Sudan.

In a Jerusalem Post op-ed penned before the meeting, Katz explained that there were “manifold benefits” to this initiative.

“For Israel, it means access to clean energy, reducing our dependence on fossil fuels, and moving towards a greener future. For Jordan, it signifies a reliable source of water and ensures that its citizens have access to this basic necessity. And for the UAE, it represents an opportunity to showcase its technological advancements and play a pivotal role in fostering regional harmony.”

It also could be the beginning of a much larger venture.

“The potential for continuation and expansion of this project is significant, given the vastness of the Mediterranean and the ever-evolving advancements in Israeli desalination technology,” he added.

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Katz is the first Israeli minister to make an official visit the UAE since the formation of the current Netanyahu government.