By Maram Kayed – Feb 20,2020

AMMAN — Jordan was ranked third after Egypt and Morocco in the MENA region in terms of wind energy production during the year 2019, according to a report recently published by the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC).

According to the annual report, Jordan’s total wind energy production amounted to 190 megawatts (MW), placing it third in the region, while Egypt led MENA countries with a total production of 262 MW, followed by Morocco with 216 MW. Ethiopia came fourth with a production of 120 MW.

The same report indicated that South Africa will surpass other countries in the region within the next five years, increasing its capacity by 3.3 gigawatts (GW) by 2024, followed by Egypt and Morocco, respectively.

The council stated in the report that the countries of the Middle East and North Africa installed a total of 894 MW of wind energy in 2019, a decrease of 7 per cent compared to 2018, during which 962 MW was installed.

Total installed wind capacity in the MENA region is now over 6 GW.

However, accelerated growth is on the horizon, with preliminary forecasts expecting 10.7 GW of wind energy capacity to be installed between 2020 and 2024, an increase of 167 per cent from the current market status.

In Jordan, there are currently five operational wind power plants in Ibrahimiyah, Hofa, Maan and Tafileh.

An expert at the Central Electricity Generation Company who preferred to remain anonymous told The Jordan Times over the phone that the Kingdom “has ample room for development in the sector”, as Jordan imports around 97 per cent of its energy, according to official figures.

“If it were not for tiresome bureaucratic procedures, which have delayed some wind farm projects for over six years now, the country would save millions in energy costs, find a permanent alternative source of energy and draw investors to the field,” the source said.

According to the report, wind energy in the MENA region will be a “key technology” for producing sustainable, cost-effective energy, transforming the region’s energy system to ensure access to modern electricity for all, creating skilled jobs and driving local economic growth.

Jon Lezamiz, chair of the council’s Africa Task Force, said in the report: “Africa and the Middle East are endowed with fantastic wind resources, and the industry is committed to supporting policymakers in the economy.”

“However, as unlocking the full potential of the wind sector has not yet been encompassed and electricity demand continues to grow… the council is ready to support governments and key stakeholders to create the appropriate frameworks that would fix the adequate pace and, thus, create a visible long-term, stable bankable project pipeline,” he added.

Ben Backwell, CEO of the GWEC, said in the report: “Challenges such as policy and power market frameworks, transmission infrastructure bottlenecks and off-taker risk must be overcome in order for Africa and the Middle East to take full advantage of their wind potential.”

These latest figures released by the GWEC form part of the statistical release of the Global Wind Report. The complete report provides a comprehensive snapshot of the global wind industry and an overview of trends such as the growth of offshore wind, corporate sourcing and changing business models. The full report will be released in March, according to the GWEC.