Renewable Energy in Jordan

Renewable energy systems have been used in Jordan since early 1970s. Infact, Jordan has been a pioneer in renewable energy promotion in the Middle East with its first wind power pilot project in Al-Ibrahemiya as early as 1988. In the recent past, Jordan has witnessed a surge in initiatives to generate power from renewable resources with financial and technical backing from the government, international agencies and foreign donors. However, renewable energy remains largely untapped due to high cost associated with non-conventional energy resources and relatively cheap availability of oil and natural gas. 

Wind energy is feasible mainly in areas overlooking the Jordan Valley and Wadi Araba. Solar energy potential is also high since many parts of the country experience between 300 and 320 days of full sunshine throughout the year, it also lies within the solar belt of the world. Biomass energy potential is also attractive in the form of urban wastes, organic industrial wastes and animal manure. With rapid technological advancements, other sources such as waste-to-energy, hydro power and geothermal energy are also realistic options.

Currently, Jordan is looking at having 10% of its energy mix generated from renewable energy sources by the year 2020. Thus, the country is implementing a plan to generate 600MW of wind energy, and 600MW of solar energy to reach this target. It is to be mentioned that Jordan’s renewable energy potential is certainly higher than this target, which may led to the possibility of exporting surplus renewable power within the region and beyond.

Solar Energy

The solar energy potential in Jordan is enormous as it lies within the solar belt of the world with average solar radiation ranging between 5 and 7KWh/m2, which implies a potential of at least 1000GWh per year annually. Solar energy, like other forms of renewable energy, remains underutilized in Jordan. Decentralized photovoltaic units in rural and remote villages are currently used for lighting, water pumping and other social services (1000KW of peak capacity). In addition, about 15% of all households are equipped with solar water heating systems. Recently, a solar pond for potash production was built in the Dead Sea area.

Jordan has major plans for increasing the use of solar energy. As per the Energy Master Plan, 30 percent of all households are expected to be equipped with solar water heating system by the year 2020. The Government is hoping to construct the first Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) demonstration project in the short to medium term and is considering Aqaba and the south-eastern region for this purpose. It is also planning to have solar desalination plant. According to the national strategy the planned installed capacity will amount to 300MW – 600MW (CSP, PV and hybrid power plants) by 2020.

Wind Energy

Wind energy resources are abundant and can cover a significant amount of Jordan’s energy requirement if implemented properly. Jordan has an ambitious program in wind energy development, where about 600MW of wind turbines are to be installed by the year 2015 which is to be doubled by 2020.

There are a number of places known by their high wind speed (greater than 5 metre per second) and long windy times, such as Jordan Valley and Wadi Araba. The existing wind farms in Hofa and Al-Ibrahemiya are good examples of successful wind energy projects. These farms are connected to the national grid and characterized by a high availability and excellent capacity factors. Currently, there is a plan for three wind farms with maximum capacity of 300MW each, distributed among three sites in the northern and southern regions of Jordan.

Biomass Energy

Municipal solid wastes represent the best source of biomass in Jordan. The per capita of waste generated in Jordan is about 0.9 kg/day. The total generation of municipal waste in Jordan is estimated at 1.84 million tons per year. The main resources of organic waste in Jordan that can be potentially used to produce biogas are summarized as follows:

  • Municipal waste from big cities
  • Organic wastes from slaughterhouse, vegetable market, hotels and restaurants.
  • Organic waste from agro-industries
  • Animal manure, mainly from cows and chickens.
  • Sewage sludge and septic.
  • Olive mills.
  • Organic industrial waste

According to a study conducted by the Greater Amman Municipality, around 1.5 million tonnes of organic waste was generated in Jordan in 2009. In addition, an annual amount of 1.83 million cubic meter of septic and sewage sludge from treatment of 44 million cubic meter of sewage water is generated in greater Amman area. The potential annual sewage sludge and septic generated in Amman can be estimated at 85,000 tons of dry matter.

The Government of Jordan, in collaboration with UNDP, GEF and the Danish Government, established 1MW Biomethanation plant at Rusaifeh landfill near Amman in 1999.  The Plant has been successfully operating since its commissioning and efforts are underway to increase its capacity to 5MW. Infact, the project has achieved net yearly profit from electricity sale of about US $ 100, 000.  The project consists of a system of twelve landfill gas wells and an anaerobic digestion plant based on 60 tons per day of organic wastes from hotels, restaurants and slaughterhouses in Amman. The successful installation of the biogas project has made it a role model in the entire region and several big cities are striving to replicate the model. 

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About Salman Zafar

Salman Zafar is the Founder of EcoMENA and a renowned expert in waste management, renewable energy, environment protection and sustainability. He is widely acknowledged as an authority on environment and sustainability sector in the Middle East and regularly consulted on environmental projects by top firms in the region and beyond. Salman is proactively engaged in creating mass awareness on clean energy, environment and sustainability through his websites, blogs, articles and projects. He has participated in numerous conferences as session chair, keynote speaker and panelist. Salman is a prolific professional cleantech writer and has authored numerous articles in reputed journals, magazines and newsletters. He holds Masters and Bachelors degree in Chemical Engineering and can be contacted on salman@ecomena.org or salman@bioenergyconsult.com
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5 Responses to Renewable Energy in Jordan

  1. Dr. Radwan Al-Weshah says:

    Thank to the kind efforts of Mr. Salman Zafar, It is indeed very helpful.

  2. Salman Zafar says:

    Thanks for your kind words Dr. Radwan. Hope you enjoyed our articles.

  3. Dear Sir, 
    Thanks for sending this article from which I leanrt about renewable energy use in Jordan. And Jordan may be the pioneer in the usage of solor energy as well. The other interesting thing is they use the municipal solid waste (biomass) for biomethanaization. Good effort in case of waste management.
     
    Thanks and regards
    Mohamed Sarifdeen Abdul Rakeeb 

  4. Eng Salem , Thank you for the articles you post , .
    Wish if we can be in touch for some projects in Jordan & UAE .
    Skype : ADNADIA33
    Eng Adnan Elsharea –JOSAIT CO

    • Salman Zafar says:
      Dear Adnan
      Thanks for your comment. We shall be happy to explore potential cooperation between our respective organizations in the clean energy, waste management and environment sector. If you have any specific ideas please let me know.
       
      Best wishes
      Salman Zafar
       
      Founder, EcoMENA

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