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Investing in Jordan: The Run on Renewables

Energy starved Jordan, which has to import some 96% of its energy needs, is very serious about renewable energy—and so are international investors who are flocking to the country at a shocking pace, but there are pitfalls to look out for and the pace of investment should perhaps be a bit more cautious.

Jordan’s 2007-2020 National Energy Strategy aims to reduce energy imports from 96% to 61%, the government has pledged to upgrade the energy sector by taking advantage of local resources, including renewable energy and oil shale (not to be confused with shale oil).

If nothing else, Jordan has massive solar energy potential, located within the world’s “solar belt”, with average solar radiation ranging between 5 and 7 KWh/m2, which implies a potential of at least 1000GWh per year. While this is all decentralized right now—with solar units in rural and remote villages currently used for lighting and water pumping, and some 15% of all households equipped with solar water heating systems—by 2020, this figure is expected to be at around 30%.

Jordan’s first phase of its potentially overly ambitious renewable energy program envisions 12 solar projects; and it is now preparing to sign agreements with developers for every single one of them, following detailed negotiations.

Jordan plans to generate 850MW of renewable energy per year, with 2017/2018 when it should all be linked to the national electricity grid, according…

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