Jordan boosts solar capacity

20 December 2017

Jordan’s solar power programme is receiving a boost in the form of a $22 million loan from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) for the construction and operation of a 50 MW project in the Risha region.

The Risha solar power project is being developed by Risha for Solar Power Projects PSC, a subsidiary of Saudi Arabia’s ACWA Power. It will also benefit from two $16 million loans from the German Investment Corporation DEG and the Arab Bank.

The solar project will be built 330 km north-east of Amman, adjacent to an existing 150 MW gas-fired power plant, owned and operated by CEGCO, the largest generator of electricity in Jordan and a subsidiary of ACWA Power. The gas-fired plant was constructed in 1984 and is nearing the end of its lifetime.

“This project will progressively replace the ageing gas-fired plant with a new solar installation generating the cheapest power in Jordan while using the existing transmission line,” said Harry Boyd-Carpenter, EBRD Director for Power and Energy. “It is the eighth solar PV project financed by the EBRD in the country during the past four years.

“It demonstrates what can be achieved in an environment where the regulatory framework, the tariff design and access to finance allow for the successful use of renewable sources of energy and is a powerful symbol of Jordan's energy transition.”

Jordan imports the majority of its energy needs and has ambitious plans in place to develop its domestic renewable energy resources, including 2000 MW of solar and wind energy capacity by 2020.

Finnish group Wärtsilä recently announced that it has received an order to supply and build a 52 MWp solar photovoltaic (PV) power plant in Jordan for AM Solar BV, a joint venture between energy provider AES Jordan and Japanese conglomerate Mitsui & Co., Ltd.

This is the first utility scale PV plant signed by Wärtsilä globally. NEPCO (National Electrical Power Company) will be the offtaker and will also be responsible for constructing the interconnection facilities.

The new PV solar power plant will be installed near IPP4, a 250 MW Wärtsilä-built power plant that has been operationing since 2014. The construction of the new plant is expected to start in June 2018 and commercial operation is expected in July 2019.

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