To liberate itself from the crushing economic weight of imported energy, Jordan has set in motion a wide-reaching program of multi-source generation thanks to legislation aimed at supporting commercial initiatives.
Jordan is not blessed with a diversity of resources, and its imported input is indeed the bane of an economy heavily dependent upon remittances. But the authorities are thinking ahead when it comes to planning the energy matrix of tomorrow. As of end-2018 Jordan’s total energy capacity was at roughly 4GW. Yet, the country imports 90% of its energy and fuel need, which today accounts for a sizeable 20% of GDP. A growing population, higher per capita consumption, and state subsidies have added to the burden. It has also been exacerbated by the almost total absence of renewables in the mix. This is about to change.
The National Energy Strategy
Back in 2008, as crunching sounds were heard throughout the global economy, Jordan approved an USD18-billion energy strategic plan up to 2020. The comprehensive plan to ensure energy security entails a fully diversified energy matrix, including renewable and nuclear energy, and encompasses both generation and transmission. The country is also reportedly set to exploit its uranium and oil shale deposits (estimated 40 billion tons oil shale reserves), as well as solar and wind components. All this was projected to have a price tag of roughly USD4 billion for 2020. To jumpstart the process, the Independent Power Provider (IPP) model—four deals were approved—has been favored for the construction of new power plants, and meanwhile, the Central Electricity Generation Company (CEGCO) was privatized. Meanwhile, to get all economic units on the same page, the Jordan National Building Council has published a Green Building Code for real estate development to foster the practice of energy efficiency, hence environmentally friendly building. The strategy also targets waste recycling. Jordan plans to generate 30-50MW of electricity from waste-to-energy (WtE) projects by 2020 using landfill gas capture.
Renewables The renewable energy component of the Jordan’s energy mix, at around 1% in 2007, is set to rise to 10% by 2020 on investments of USD1.7 billion, set in motion by the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Law and energy efficiency fund. In late 2016, 19 wind and solar projects had been approved promising total generation capacity of 700MW. Meanwhile, related bylaws and regulations issued by the Energy and Mineral Regulatory Commission have seen the publishing of the “Reference Price List” of indicative prices for each mode of renewable energy. This is a ceiling tariff that would-be sector participants can compete beneath. In a further incentive, where a winning bidder opts for a fully local content Renewable Energy Facility, a further 15% on the tariff submitted is to be awarded.
Solar Sun is one thing Jordan has aplenty, and annual daily average solar irradiance ranges of 5-7kWh/sqm are measured, among the highest to be found anywhere. As of late 2018, 716MW of installed solar photovoltaic (PV) power were at work, with 636MW under construction.
Jordan’s Wind Atlas identifies its northern and western regions having speeds of over 7m/second, and in 2015 a 117-MW wind farm in Tafileh started operations. As of late 2018, 279MW of wind power was online, with 334MW under construction.
Jordan’s prospective nuclear component would generate electricity for usage and water desalination, where the Jordan Atomic Energy Commission (JAEC) looks to purchase around 200-700MW of power from small modular reactors (SMR) planned for operation between 2025-2030. Ultimately, JAEC’s long-term strategy would be to build large-scale nuclear plants.
Over the coming years, the downstream oil sector is estimated to see a 6% increase in demand for primary energy, and in response the generating sector is poised to see 7% growth over the National Energy Strategy duration. Jordan has seen certain downstream setbacks in securing investors for Jordan Petroleum Refinery Company. This example alone underlines the massive task ahead. The program, then, while ambitious, must be approximated in reality for the nation’s economy to glimpse stronger days.
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