Jordan is looking to diversify into renewables and nuclear
Jordan is trying to break away from its overreliance on fossil feedstock and diversify into alternative sources of energy –wind, solar and nuclear are all on the table
Jordan currently generates 1.5 percent of its electric power from renewable sources. Its policy is to achieve seven percent of its primary energy demand from renewables by 2015, and 10 percent by 2020.
In January 2010 the government passed a new Renewable Energy Law, which requires the National Electric Power Company (NEPCO) to purchase all electricity produced by independent and small-scale renewable plants at full retail price.
The government is reportedly considering introducing an incentive system to promote investment in wind power, which could include a feed-in tariff.
Jordan could soon be housing the world’s largest photovoltaic (PV) power plant. Plans were presented by an Italian-Jordanian consortium formed of local company Kawar Energy and Italy’s Solar Ventures.
The Shams Maan project, would have a generating capacity of 100MW and would be the first large scale private sector renewable energy project in the country. It is estimated the project will cost around US$400 million.
Detailed studies on the project will be carried out by the National Energy Research Centre in order to define which form of PV technology to use.
Construction is due to start in 2011; however, there has been no indication of how long it will take to build. Once completed, it would add 1.2 percent to Jordan’s existing electricity generating capacity.
Financing options are currently being explored. Jordan, like much of the Middle East and North Africa region has climactic conditions very conducive to solar power. The country is looking to develop 600MW of solar power by 2020.
Jordan’s Atomic Energy Commission (JAEC) is looking to pioneer the procurement of nuclear power plants in the region.
The JAEC has entered the second phase of negotiations with the consortium made up of French nuclear engineering company Areva and Japan’s Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, which are one of three consortia with a technology bid in place, according to a report by the Jordan Times.
Areva and Mitsubishi are proposing a combination of Areva’s EPR technology with Mitshubishi’s APWR technology for Jordan’s first nuclear power plant. Other technology companies in the race are Russia’s Atomstroyexport and Canada’s AECL.
JAEC will make a final decision by the middle of 2011, according to a statement by its chairman Khaled Toukan.
Toukan noted that it would be a combination of the long term power purchase negotiations and construction costs that will decide the winning consortium. In an unprecedented move in the region, JAEC has said that the project will be procured under a 50:50 public private partnership agreement.
This project is eagerly awaited by not only the EPC contractors and technology firms, but also by their utilities partners, which will be responsible for the long term operation of the plant.
French energy major GDF Suez and Japan’s KEPCO are tied to the Areva/Mitsubishi bid. Following the rejection by Abu Dhabi of GDF Suez’s bid to build a reactor, the French energy major is keen to get the Jordan contract and expand its foothold in the Middle East - where it dominates the IWPP market - into the nascent nuclear power sector as well.
Winds of change
Jordan is aiming to generate 1,200MW of wind power by 2020. The country’s best wind resources are in Aqaba and the Jordan Valley, and the government intends to build 600 MW of wind by 2015 and a further 600-1,000 MW by 2020.
In summer 2010 negotiations for Jordan’s first wind farm were under way again – this is to be a 30-40 MW wind power plant in Kamshah.
Source: Business Monitor International