Jordan eyes renewable energy

By Katie Liszka

JORDAN is highly dependent on imported energy in the form of natural gas and fuel oil. In 2011, 97 per cent of its energy was imported. The kingdom has also suffered as a result of problems with the supply of gas from Egypt. In addition to its dependency on imported energy, Jordan also projects a high growth in energy demand. Hence, the country has set itself ambitious targets in relation to the introduction of renewables into its energy mix, which will account for at least 10 per cent of the total supply by 2020. There are also a number of individual targets, such as approximately 1,200 MW (megawatts) for wind power and 600 MW for solar.

The recent publication by the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources of a pre-qualification tender for a contract for engineering, procurement and construction of a 65 to 75 MW photovoltaic (PV) power plant in Quweira, in the southern part of the kingdom, demonstrates that the government is pushing ahead with its renewable energy programme. This latest tender follows other recent ones issued by the ministry for a PV power plant in Azraq and a 65 to 75 MW wind power plant in Ma’an.

The tender is for a contract to construct and install the project, including (but not limited to) the engineering and design, procurement, supply and transportation, construction and installation and commissioning of: PV modules; inverters; medium-voltage (MV) and signal cabling system; MV/HV (high-voltage) substation and grid connection including control system (optional); necessary equipment to interface the project with the electrical network (optional); and all required civil works including the construction of the foundations, access roads, internal roads and security systems, as well as an operation and management contract for the project.

The implementation of the project is to be on the basis of an engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) turnkey contract (based on Fidic) on a fixed-price, lump-sum basis combined with short- to medium-term operation and maintenance contracts. Prequalification is based on applicant’s experience (general and particular), personnel and equipment capabilities and financial position.

As well as enabling projects to be developed through a public competitive bidding process, Jordan also permits developments through direct proposals. In 2012, the Renewable Energy and Efficiency Law was enacted, which allowed for the private sector to make direct proposals to the government in respect of renewable energy projects. In response to a request for expressions of interest in May 2011, more than 60 companies submitted such expressions. Twenty-two of these companies were shortlisted for solar projects and 12 for wind power projects.

The Jordan Times reported on February 20, 2013 that Jordan’s Energy Minister Alaa Batayneh had announced plans for a 10-MW solar plant in Mafraq and a 117-MW wind power plant on the outskirts of Tafileh. The solar plant is to be established by the Philadelphia Solar Power Company and is to be built on a build-operate-own basis at a cost of JOD16 million ($22.6 million). The wind power plant will built by the local Jordan Wind Power Company at a cost of some JOD205 million ($290 million).

It was also reported that some 30 memoranda of understanding have been signed between the government and local and international investors to establish up to 1,000 MW of small- and medium-scale renewable energy projects across the country over the next five years. How these direct proposal projects fit in with previously announced projects, such as the 100-MW Joan concentrated solar power (CSP) plant, is unclear. The Joan project is in the Ma’an Development Area and was scheduled to become operational this year. What is clear is that a substantial number of projects are in development, which – provided that they come to fruition – should go some way to enabling Jordan to reach its ambitious targets.

In addition to the pipeline of projects to build renewable energy power plants, Jordan has also developed its policy and regulatory framework. The Renewable Energy and Efficiency Law created a renewable energy and energy efficiency fund that aims to support energy-saving and renewable energy initiatives. The law also obliges the National Electric Power Company to purchase any electricity produced by renewable energy sources and in December 2012 the Electricity Regulatory Commission published a list of tariffs for renewable energy.

The developments in Jordan show that the Middle East and North Africa (Mena) region is seriously committed to renewable energy. Other examples of Mena countries pushing on with their renewable energy programmes are Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. In Saudi Arabia, the King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy (KaCare), the body responsible for developing Saudi Arabia’s atomic and renewable energy policy, recently published its “Proposed Competitive Procurement Process for the Renewable Energy Program” (White Paper).

The White Paper provides details of how KaCare intends to procure 54,000 MW of renewable energy by 2032. Public feedback on the White Paper was invited with a deadline of April 5, 2013. In Kuwait, the Partnerships Technical Bureau has recently invited tenders from consultants to act as transaction adviser in relation to a PPP (public-private partnership) solar project. It appears that projects across the region will be procured through a mixture of PPP, IPP (independent power project) and EPC models. The timings for some of the projects may not yet be definitive, but there will be opportunities in the coming years as Mena countries look to rebalance their energy mix.

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