European Union to help Jordan build solar energy plant

The European Union (EU) will collaborate with Jordan’s National Energy Research Centre in exploring feasibility of a pilot project in central Jordan to construct the Kingdom’s first small-scale solar power plant.

According to Patrick Renauld, head of the European Commission (EC) Delegation in Amman, the EU will extend a 10-million-euro grant to help establish the plant, the first of its kind, in Fujeij, near Shobak, which they hope will become a center for renewable energy training at the local and regional levels.

The site of the proposed project, which would generate around five megawatts (MW) of energy, would be situated near a projected 80-90MW wind power plant theJordanian Ministry of Energy aims to build and operate by 2011 in order to maximize existing infrastructure, according to the EC.

Also under the grant, a wind power testing station will be established in addition to training facilities for undergraduates, fresh graduates, experts and engineers within Jordan and across the greater Middle East.

International experts will explore renewable energy potential in desert regions under the Global Conference on Renewables and Energy Efficiency for Desert Regions, which will showcase academic papers on subjects ranging from solar thermal applications to biofuels.

Under the National Energy Strategy, the Kingdom should be able to generate 600MW of wind and 600MW of solar energy, 10 per cent of the country’s energy consumption, by 2020.

Critical to the plan is the Energy Ministry’s renewable energy draft law, which calls for the creation of a renewable energy and energy efficiency fund to finance initiatives and projects to achieve the strategy.

According to a recent study, some 76 per cent of Jordanians favour a greater emphasis on installing wind and solar energy systems.


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