By Mohammad Ghazal – Nov 25,2015

AMMAN — Investments in the country’s renewable energy sector exceed JD1 billion at present and are expected to increase significantly in the next few years as more projects are in the pipeline, according to investment and energy officials.

Renewable energy is “one of the most attractive and rapidly growing sectors in terms of attracting investments”, Jordan Investment Commission (JIC) President Montaser Oklah told The Jordan Times on Tuesday.

“This sector is witnessing great momentum, and investors’ appetite to channel money into solar and wind energy projects is growing,” Oklah said.

The entire ecosystem for renewable energy projects in Jordan is promising and encouraging as studies by energy authorities indicate that the Kingdom has more than 300 sunny days a year, according to experts.

In addition, wind speeds in the northern region reach as high as 7.5 metres per second and 11.5 metres per second in the eastern areas of the country.

“Jordan is also planning to expand the grid’s capacity to absorb more renewable energy projects… We have seen many projects launched and there are more to come,” Oklah added.

Earlier this week, Abdul Latif Jameel Energy and Environmental Services, and its portfolio company Fotowatio Renewable Ventures (FRV), a developer of large-scale solar power plants, announced the signing of a power purchase agreement (PPA) for a planned 50-megawatt (MW) solar photovoltaic power plant in Jordan.

The PPA, which was signed with the National Electric Power Company, is valid for 20 years. The PPA was signed at 4.898 piasters (6.93 US cents) per kilowatt-hour.

To be established in Mafraq, in the northern region, the plant is part of the government’s plans to generate 10 per cent of its energy from renewable sources by 2020.

Scheduled to commence operations in 2017, the power plant represents 1 per cent of Jordan’s overall generation capacity and will supply 155 million kilowatt hours of electricity per year, sufficient to power over 40,000 average homes in the country, according to the company.

The project is the first of four solar power plants to be built in Jordan as part of the second round of the Kingdom’s solar independent power producer tender, totalling 200MW.

“Agreements for several solar and wind energy projects will be signed in the near future,” Haidar Gammaz, spokesperson of the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources, told The Jordan Times recently.

“With the expansion of the grid’s capacity, we will see more projects in the sector which is among the government’s top priorities to help slash the energy bill,” he said.

Jordan imports about 97 per cent of its energy needs annually at about 18 per cent of the gross domestic product.

Renewable energy projects with a total capacity of 1,600MW will be operational by 2018, Energy Minister Ibrahim Saif told the press this week.

These projects will increase the grid’s capacity from 4,000MW to 5,600MW.
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