By Laila Azzeh

AMMAN – Jordan has enormous potential to be part of the Mediterranean Solar Plan, which seeks to connect solar power plants across the Mediterranean countries, projected to generate 20 gigawatts of electricity by 2020, according to experts.

“The Kingdom can benefit from solar energy generated from the southern region exactly like some countries benefit from their oil fields,” Medgrid Executive Vice President Gassan Anbar told reporters during a press conference on Tuesday.

He added that Medgrid is a recently launched non-profit French initiative that aims to chart a map for a solar power network linking southern and eastern Mediterranean countries.

“The project is one of the key ventures initiated under the Union for the Mediterranean (UPM), which seeks to promote new ways of cooperation and development among its 43 member countries,” noted Anbar, who is currently on a visit to Amman along with other Medgrid representatives.

The aim of the visit is to meet with local officials and acquaint them with the objectives of the initiative and its “strategic significance” in meeting local electricity demands in participating countries and exporting the surplus to neighbouring countries and Europe, according to Medgrid.

“Part of the electricity produced by the solar plants can be sold to Europe at higher prices of feed-in tariffs… It’s a win-win situation in every sense,” Anbar pointed out.

Medgrid will also conduct studies on the feasibility of establishing these solar networks, including analysing the details of the cost and the kind of cables that should be used, Medgrid President Andre Merlin said.

The studies, to be completed by 2013, will then be available to investors who are interested in establishing networks in their respective countries, he pointed out, adding that the studies will also tackle the laws governing the import and export of electricity in each UPM member country, including Jordan.

Medgrid, which comprises 20 Arab and European companies, including “PanMed”, a local firm, will also develop technical cooperation between Mediterranean countries, according to Jean Kowal, vice president for the technical affairs at Medgrid.

The delegates, who were in Egypt before arriving in Amman Tuesday on a two-day visit, will head to Lebanon today to highlight the objectives of the initiative.