EEPro waiting for Jordan solar tender
10MW renewables project company to bid once feed-in tariffs in place
Erneuerbare Energie Projectentwicklung (EERro), a German company that plans, builds and manages solar parks, will be bidding for a tender for a 10 megawatt photovoltaic plant (PV) in Jordan once the the tender is out in early 2011.
The project will only become viable once the government adopts new regulation regarding the pricing of renewables, and introduce a so-called feed-in tariffs, in which power generated from solar or wind is priced to make production profitable.
“The new law should be passed by Jordan’s king before the year is out, and the tender should be launched in January or February, should all go well,” Markus Kaufmann, head of project management at EEPro, told UME on the sidelines of the Big 5 conference held in Dubai this week.
“We will be bidding alongside our competitors.”
The plant will be EEPRo’s first solar project in the Middle East. Kaufmann believes that Jordan, alongside Syria, is the country where the need to include renewables into the energy mix is most appreciated.
Asked when he believed the use of solar in power generation would become widespread, he said that the region needed examples to follow. Furthermore, the countries decision makers would have to be convinced about the benefits of the renewable energy.
“We are hoping for people to become aware of the need to invest in renewables, and to become convinced about the viability of the technology. This is one reason we are here at the Big 5.” he said.
Alongside PV plants, EEPRO showcases installations such as solar powered street lights and car parks that recharge electric cars.
Unlike in Europe, where renewable energy is boosted by feed-in tariffs, a boom in solar power would stem from government owned utilities incorporating the technology into their generation capacity, he says.
“In the Middle East, people need to be shown that something works by example,” says Kaufmann. “Once the technology has been proven to work, solar could be in for a boom.”
Despite the huge potential that the Middle East offers for renewable companies, EEPro is adopting a cautious approach when considering projects here, says Kaufmann, who knows the region through a background in the construction industry.
With a judiciary system and legal framework that is not always favourable for a foreign company seeking to protect its interests, he believes that it is vital that a reliable partner is found for each project.
“In Jordan, we have a joint venture agreement with a local company, so we feel secure in pursuing the project there,” says Kaufmann.