A solar project established in Jordan. New financing and a partnership with Italian company aims to solar up southern Jordan. Image via Arabcrunch.
With no massive oil reserves like neighbouring Saudi, Jordan is one of the poorer countries in the Middle East, relying on USAID and other foreign support to keep its economy intact. But Jordan is on its way to solving some of its energy problems, according to a press release by the Kawar Group of Companies, a Middle East consortium involved in clean energy projects.
According to the release, the Shams Ma’an solar energy project has secured a 2 sq kilometer tract of land in southern Jordan to build a photovoltaic (PV) solar energy plant, that will cost around $400 million and at the outset will produce about 100 megawatts of electric power that can be expanded to 200 megawatts. The news of this project was originally announced last October in a press release by Kawar in Milan Italy where the Italian solar energy company, Solar Ventures SRl , agreed to be a partner in the Jordanian solar energy venture.
Jordan has considered a number of energy options to supplement and even replace its imports of oil, since it is lacking in this energy commodity. In addition to solar energy, it has also considered building a nuclear power plant at its Red Sea port city of Aqaba which is still under definite consideration since considerable amounts of uranium has been discovered in the Kingdom.
Nuclear power in Jordan is ecologically dangerous, as well as politically controversial, due to the planned nuclear plant’s close proximity to Israel (especially to the neighboring Israeli city of Eilat). Israel is a target for global terror and terrorists could attack Jordan as a means to hurt Israel.
Cleaner power options are now being considered including hydro-electricity generated from the proposed “Red-Dead Canal” project which would bring water from the Red Sea to the rapidly drying up Dead Sea, and would also provide fresh water through desalination as well as electricity. Jordan decided to begin this project alone since Israel and the Palestinian Authority, the other interested parties in this project, have not be able to finalize an agreement with Jordan involving the project’s undertaking.
We’ve also met students from Jordan who are working on solar thin film research to help provide cleaner power to farmers.
In the Shams Ma’an project, one of the crucial factors will be power purchase agreements with the Jordanian Government, in which the Jordanian Electric Company will purchase the electricity produced at the solar energy facility at a price that would make it profitable, due to the cost of solar produced electricity being more expensive than that produced by conventional power plants. But despite these concerns, solar energy appears to definitely be a part of this country’s future, with the Shams Ma’an PV solar plant expected to be completed sometime in the year 2012