African Development Bank and Renewable Energy

Africa has huge renewable energy potential with some of the world’s largest concentration of alternative energy resources in the form of solar, wind, hydro, and energy. Overall, 17 countries in sub-Saharan Africa are in the top-33 countries worldwide with combined reserves of solar, wind, hydro, and geothermal energy far exceeding annual consumption. Most of the sub-Saharan countries receive solar radiation in the range of 6-8 kWh/m2/day, which counts among the highest amounts of solar radiation in the world. Until now, only a small fraction of Africa’s vast renewable energy potential has been tapped.  The renewable energy resources have the potential to cover the energy requirements of the entire continent.

The African Development Bank has supported its member countries in their energy development initiatives for more than four decades. With growing concerns about climate change, AfDB has compiled a strong project pipeline comprised of small- to large-scale wind-power projects, mini, small and large hydro-power projects, cogeneration power projects, geothermal power projects and biodiesel projects. The major priorities for the Bank include broadening the supply of low-cost environmentally clean energy and developing renewable forms of energy to diversify power generation sources in Africa. The AfDB’s interventions to support climate change mitigation in Africa are driven by sound policies and strategies and through its financing initiatives the Bank endeavors to become a major force in clean energy development in Africa.

Energy projects are an important area of the AfDB’s infrastructure work, keeping in view the lack of access to energy services across Africa and continued high oil prices affecting oil-importing countries. AfDB’s Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa (PIDA), and other programmes, are in the process of identifying priority investment projects in renewable energy, which also include small and medium scale hydro and biomass co-generation.  The Bank supports its member countries towards developing renewable energy projects in three ways:

  • By encouraging countries to mainstream clean energy options into national development plans and energy planning.
  • By promoting investment in clean energy and energy efficiency ventures
  • By supporting the sustainable exploitation of the huge energy potential of the continent, while supporting the growth of a low-carbon economy.

FINESSE Africa Program

The FINESSE Africa Program, financed by the Dutch Government, has been the mainstay of AfDB’s support of renewable energy and energy efficiency since 2004. The Private Sector department of AfDB, in collaboration with the Danish Renewable Energy Agency (DANIDA), has developed a robust project pipeline of solar, wind, geothermal and biomass energy projects for upcoming five years. 

The FINESSE program has helped in project preparation/development for Lesotho (rural electrification by means of different sources of renewable energy), Madagascar (rural water supply using solar water pumps), Ghana (energy sector review) and Uganda (solar PV for schools and boarding facilities), as well as on the development of the energy component of the Community Agricultural Infrastructure Improvement Program in Uganda (solar PV, hydropower and grid extension), the Bank’s initiative on bio-ethanol in Mozambique (including co-funding a recent bio fuels workshop in Maputo) and the AfDB Country Strategy Paper revision in Madagascar.

Clean Energy Investment Framework

The AfDB’s Clean Energy Investment Framework aims at promoting sustainable development and contributing to global emissions reduction efforts by using a three-pronged approach: maximize clean energy options, emphasize energy efficiency and enable African countries to participate effectively in CDM sector. The AfDB’s interventions to support climate change mitigation in Africa are driven by sound policies and strategies and through its financing initiatives the Bank endeavors to become a major force in clean energy development in Africa.

In order to finance energy access and clean energy development operations, the Bank Group will draw on resources from its AfDB non-concessional window to finance public-sponsored projects and programs in countries across Africa. According to the Framework, AfDB will work with a range of stakeholders (national governments, regional organizations, sub-sovereign entities, energy and power utilities, independent power producers and distributors, sector regulators, and civil society organizations) on key issues in clean energy access and climate adaptation in all regional member countries. 

Climate Investment Funds

Part of the AfDB’s commitment to supporting Africa’s move toward climate resilience and low carbon development is expanding access to international climate change financing. The African Development Bank is implementing the Climate Investment Funds (CIF), a pair of funds designed to help developing countries pilot transformations in clean technology, sustainable management of forests, increased energy access through renewable energy, and climate-resilient development. The AfDB has been involved with the CIF since their inception in 2008. 

The Bank is actively supporting African nations and regions as they develop CIF investment plans and then channeling CIF funds, as well as its own co-financing, to turn those plans into action. One of the Climate Investment Funds, the Clean Technology Fund (CTF) provides developing countries with positive incentives to scale up the demonstration, deployment, and transfer of technologies with a high potential for long-term greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions savings. 

In the Middle East and North Africa region, US$750 million in CTF funding is supporting deployment of 1GW of solar power generation capacity, reducing about 1.7 million tons of CO2 per year from the energy sectors of Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Morocco and Tunisia. In Morocco, US$197 million in CTF funding is cofinancing the world’s largest concentrated solar power initiative. Another US$125 million is helping scale up investments in its wind energy program targeting 2GW by 2020.

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Unleashing Solar Power in Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia is the largest consumer of petroleum in the Middle East, with domestic consumption reaching 4 million barrels per day in 2012 out of daily production of 10 million barrels. Saudi Arabia’s primary energy consumption per capita is four times higher than the world average. Strong industrial growth, subsidized oil prices, increasing energy demand for electricity and transportation is leading to a growing clamor for oil in the country. The total energy consumption in the Kingdom is rapidly rising at an average rate of about 6 percent per annum.

Solar Energy Prospects 

To meet the rising local energy demand, Saudi Arabia plans to increase generating capacity to 120 GW by 2020. Residential sector holds the biggest share of total energy consumption, accounting for as much as 80 percent of the electricity usage. Despite being the leading oil producer as well as consumer, Saudi Arabia is showing deep interest in the development of large projects for tapping its rich renewable energy potential, especially solar power. The country plans to invest more than $100 billion in clean energy projects to meet its objective of getting one-third of electricity requirements from alternative energy resources.

There is a growing Interest in utilization of solar energy in Saudi Arabia as the country is blessed with abundant solar flux throughout the year. Saudi Arabia has one of the highest solar irradiation in the world, estimated at approximately 2,200 thermal kWh of solar radiation per square meter. The country is strategically located near the Sun Belt, not to mention wide availability of empty stretches of desert that may accommodate solar power generating infrastructure. Moreover, vast deposits of sand can be used in the manufacture of silicon PV cells which makes Saudi Arabia an attractive location for both CSP and PV power generation. 

Promising Developments

The first initiative from the government was the establishment of King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy (KA-CARE) which is the official agency in-charge of promoting clean energy in the Kingdom. The kingdom is planning to add an additional 41 GW of solar power by 2032, with 16 GW to be generated by photovoltaics and 25 GW by solar thermal power plants. One of the major achievements was the establishment of 3.5MW PV project at the King Abdullah Petroleum Studies and Research Center. 

Concentrated solar power is another interesting option for Saudi Arabia due to its strong dependence on desalination plants to meet its water requirement. Waste heat of a CSP power plant can be used to power seawater desalination projects. Recently Saudi Electric Company has selected CSP to produce electricity with 550MW Duba 1 project, an integrated Solar Combined Cycle Power Plant located 50km north of Duba near Tuba. The plant is designed to integrate a parabolic trough unit of around 20 to 30MW. 

Keeping in view its regional dominance, Saudi Arabia can play a vital role in the popularization of solar energy in the MENA region. Solar energy program may not only augment oil-wealth of the Kingdom, but also transform Saudi Arabia into a net solar power exporter in the near future. 

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Renewable Energy Investment in Jordan

Jordan has tremendous wind, solar and biomass energy potential which can only be realized by large-scale investments. In 2007, the Government of Jordan developed an integrated and comprehensive Energy Master Plan. Renewable energy accounted for only 1% of the energy consumption in Jordan in 2007. However, ambitious targets have been set in the Master Plan to raise the share to 7% in 2015 and 10% in 2020. 

This transition from conventional fuels to renewable energy resources will require capital investments, technology transfer and human resources development, through a package of investments estimated at US $ 1.4 – 2.2 billion. The investment package includes Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) deals for wind energy with a total capacity of 660 MW and solar energy plants of 600 MW. This will be paralleled with the reduction of energy produced from oil from 58% currently to 40% in 2020.

As most of the clean energy technologies require high capital cost, investments in wind, solar and waste-to-energy plants will be possible only with appropriate support from the Government. Notably, the Government has expressed its readiness to provide necessary support within the framework of available resources. The Ministry of Planning and International Cooperation (MOPIC), is responsible for coordinating and directing developmental efforts in coordination with the public and private sectors, and civil society organizations. MOPIC is actively seeking support for renewable energy and energy efficiency initiatives through continuous cooperation with international partners and donors.

Jordan has significant strengths in the form of renewable energy resources, a developed electricity grid, strong legal and intellectual property protections, a market-friendly economy and a skilled workforce. So it is well positioned to participate in the expanding cleantech industry. The best prospects for electricity generation in Jordan are as Independent Power Producers (IPPs).  This creates tremendous opportunities for foreign investors interested in investing in electricity generation ventures.

Jordan enacted a Renewable Energy Law in 2010 which provides for legislative framework for the cleantech sector. The main aim of the law is to facilitate domestic and international projects and streamline the investment process.  The Law permits and encourages the exploitation of renewable energy sources at any geographical location in the Kingdom. In April 2012, the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources announced that it has qualified 34 international and local companies for investment in renewable energy projects, with an overall capacity reaching 1000 MW. Of the qualified companies, 22 companies will invest in solar power projects and the rest in wind energy.

Keeping in view the renewed interest in renewable energy, there is a huge potential for international technology companies to enter the Jordan market.  There is very good demand for wind energy equipments, solar power units and waste-to-energy systems which can be capitalized by technology providers and investment groups from around the world.

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الطاقة المتجددة….مستقبل الكامن في السهل الممتنع

لقد دلت المؤشرات على أن متوسط استهلاك الفرد للطاقة في المملكة العربية السعودية بلغ ضعف متوسط الإستهلاك العالمي بحسب الاحصاءات,و تعد بذلك من أعلى المستويات في العالم. مع العلم أن نسبة استهلاك أجهزة التكييف للطاقة الكهربائية تمثل أكثر من 70 بالمائة و ترتفع هذ النسبة في فصل الصيف لتصل إلى 100 بالمائة مما يشكل إختلالآ في عمل المنظومات الكهربائية.

فلذلك تعمل المملكة العربية السعودية الآن على تبني مصادر متنوعة للطاقة المتجددة و استكشاف الطرق الرامية إلى تحسين أداء الطاقة البترولية والحد من أثآرها على البيئة ويمكنها في نهاية المطاف أن تحقق الاستدامة من خلال تنويع مصادر هذه الطاقة. فالإعتماد على مصادر الطاقة المتجددة مهم جداً ، مثل الطاقة الشمسية الكثيفة بالإضافة إلى طاقة الرياح والطاقة الجوف أرضية وتنضم الطاقة الذرية إلى كل ذلك.

الطاقة الشمسية

علميآ تقع المملكة بمحاذاة الحزام الشمسي و هو عبارة عن نطاق قريب جدآ من المنطقة الإستوائية, حيث تبلغ سقوط أشعة الشمس أقصاها. فبذلك يعتبر موقعها مثالي جدآ للإستثمار في الطاقة الشمسية,ناهيك عن المساحات الواسعة و القادرة على استيعاب المعدات الهائلة لتوليد الطاقة. و تستقبل السعودية من الطاقة الشمسية ما يعادل 7 كيلوواط في الساعة لكل متر مربع في ساعات النهار, مما يؤهلها لتكون الدولة الأمثل للإستفادة منها و لإبتكار حلول تكنولوجية في المستقبل.

طاقة الرياح

تمثل طاقة الرياح اليوم أهمية متزايدة في جميع أنحاء العالم , و تتمتع المملكة بمؤهلات جيدة للإستفادة من هذه الطاقة. حيث قدر توفرالرياح القوية من 4 إلى 5 ساعات يوميآ, و يعد هذا المعدل الأعلى في الشرق الأوسط. و من الجدير بالذكر الخطط الطامحة من قبل المملكة في الإستفادة من هذه الطاقة لإنتاج 9 جيجاواط خلال السنوات العشرون القادمة.

الطاقة الذرية

توجهت المملكة حاليآ نحو إنتاج الطاقة الذرية. و يعتبر تأسيس مدينة الملك عبدالله للطاقة الذرية و المتجددة أكبر دليل على ذلك. فإن  تنفيذ مشاريع لتوليد الطاقة الكهربائية و إنتاج مياه محلاة تعتبر من أكبر أهدافها. و لكن كشفت بعض الأراء بأن محطات توليد هذه الطاقة لن تستطيع العمل بكفاءة و الإنتاج إلا بعد مضي عشر سنوات.

فهل ستتمكن المملكة من التحول والإعتماد على مزيج متوازن ومستدام من مصادر الطاقة ليس لأسباب بيئية وحسب ولكن لأهمية مصادر الطاقة هذه و التي من شأنها المساعدة في بناء قطاع إقتصادي متنوع، يوفر المزيد من فرص الأعمال والوظائف، الأمر الذي سيرفع من مستوى حياة المواطنين وينقل المملكة لتصبح إحدى الدول الرائدة في مجال الطاقة البديلة على مستوى العالم.

رفع أسعار النفط المحلي

لتحقيق هذا الأمل الوردي, هناك المزيد من الخطوات العملية يجب أن تطبق في مجال التشجيع على الاستثمار في الطاقة النظيفة. فهل من الممكن رفع أسعار النفط المحلي؟ و ما أثره ذلك اقتصاديآ و اجتماعيآ؟ أليس من الأهم التركيز على دفع عجلة البناء والإقتصاد ومن ثم العمل على الخطط البديلة للطاقة كناتج للتقدم الحضاري؟

المجهودات الحكومية لتقليل الاستهلاك الداخلي المسرف للطاقة دائماُ ماتقابل بمعوقات مرتبطة بقلة أسعار الوقود.بالطبع يساعد خفض أسعار النفط سواء كان وقود للمركبات أو الكهرباء في التخفيف من الفقر وتحفيز التنمية في الاقتصاد غير النفطي ولكن من الممكن أن الآثار السلبية تطغى على الإيجابية, حيث أنها قد ترسخ عدم الكفاءة في الإستهلاك خصوصاُ مع الآراء المتصاعدة والمنبئة بنضوب مصادر البترول قريباً. رفع الدعم الحكومي للطاقة المستهلكة داخليا من شأنه تشجيع استخدام البدائل الصديقة للبيئة وبقدر مايعتقد الكثير أن ذلك من السهل حدوثه فإن التحول للطاقة النظيفة يلزمه الكثير من العمل على المستوى الفردي والمؤسسي مما يجعل الطاقة البديلة السهل الممتنع.

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Renewable Energy Prospects in Africa

With a sixth of the world’s population, Africa generates a measly four percent of the world’s electricity, three-quarters of which is used by South Africa and northern Africa. According to World Bank statistics, more than 500 million Africans (almost two-thirds of the total population) have no access to “modern energy.” Hydropower accounts for around 45% of electricity generation in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) while biomass (mostly firewood) constitutes about 56 percent of all energy use in sub-Saharan Africa. Large-scale use of forest biomass is accelerating deforestation, and the World Bank estimates that 45,000 square kilometers of forest were lost between 1990 and 2005 across all low-income countries in Africa.

Africa has huge renewable energy potential with some of the world’s largest concentration of alternative energy resources in the form of solar, wind, hydro and biomass energy. Overall, 17 countries in sub-Saharan Africa are in the top-33 countries worldwide with combined reserves of solar, wind, hydro, and geothermal energy far exceeding annual consumption. Most of the sub-Saharan countries receive solar radiation in the range of 6-8 kWh/m2/day, which counts among the highest amounts of solar radiation in the world. Until now, only a small fraction of Africa’s vast renewable energy potential has been tapped.  The renewable energy resources have the potential to cover the energy requirements of the entire continent.

Several African counties, such as South Africa, Egypt, Morocco, Kenya, Senegal, Madagascar, Rwanda and Mali have adopted national targets for renewable energy, and feed-in tariffs for renewable energy electricity have been introduced e.g. in South Africa and Kenya.   Countries such as South Africa, Morocco, Egypt, Cape Verde, Ethiopia, Kenya and Tanzania are developing wind farms.  Geothermal investments are increasing in the Rift Valley area of Eastern Africa.  The pipeline of investments in Africa in hydropower, wind farms, solar PV and concentrated solar thermal, geothermal power and biomass energy underlines the huge potential for a future expansion of renewable energy across the continent.

The African Development Bank, through its public and private sector departments, is currently implementing several clean energy projects and programs to address these priorities particularly in the energy and forestry sectors. The Bank's energy portfolio currently stands at about USD 2 billion. The AfDB provides two lending windows. The first is a public window, with mostly concessional funds available to governments. The second is a private window, which offers debt and equity on commercial terms. 

Hydroelectric power generation represent an attractive investment in Africa because of tremendous hydropower generation potential, 60% of which is locked within Guinea, Ethiopia and the Democratic Republic of Congo. The AfDB has committed its support to developing the Gibe III hydroelectric dam, in Ethiopia. Wind farms are another lucrative investment arena for AfDB, as shown by AfDB’s commitment for 300MW Lake Turkana Wind Farm in Kenya.  Lake Turkana Wind Power (LWTP) consortium is constructing a wind farm consisting of 353 wind turbines, each with a capacity of 850 kW, in Northwest Kenya near Lake Turkana. The wind power project is expected to reach full production of 300 MW by the end of 2012.  LTWP can provide reliable and continuous clean power to satisfy up to about 30% of Kenya’s current total installed power. 

The Ain Beni Mathar Integrated Solar Thermal Combined Cycle Power Station is one of the most promising solar power projects in Africa.  The plant combines solar power and thermal power, and is expected to reach production capacity of 250MW by 2012. African Development Bank, in partnership with the Global Environment Facility and Morocco's National Electric Authority, is financing approximately two-thirds of the cost of the plant, or about 200 million Euros.

With growing concerns about climate change, AfDB has compiled a strong project pipeline comprised of small- to large-scale wind-power projects, mini, small and large hydro-power projects, cogeneration power projects, geothermal power projects and biodiesel projects. The major priorities for the Bank include broadening the supply of low-cost environmentally clean energy and developing renewable forms of energy to diversify power generation sources in Africa. The AfDB’s interventions to support climate change mitigation in Africa are driven by sound policies and strategies and through its financing initiatives the Bank endeavors to become a major force in clean energy development in Africa.

 

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Role of Agricultural Sector in Harnessing Renewable Energy

The continuous rise in fossil energy prices, combined with climate change concerns and progress in renewable energy sector, has catalyzed interest in clean energy systems across the MENA region, especially in the Mediterranean. The Mediterranean region has abundant renewable resources, such as wind, solar, and biomass, which makes it a fertile zone for renewable energy developments. 

The agricultural sector has played a key role in the progress of renewable energy sector around the world as it provides large areas where renewable energy projects are built and is also the predominant feedstock source for biomass energy projects. For example, German agricultural sector accounts for one-fifth of the total installed PV capacity.

The main objective of this article is to explore the role that Mediterranean agricultural sector can play in tapping tremendous renewable energy potential available across the region.

Wind Energy

In countries where there is a lack of available land to build wind turbines, the agricultural sector is playing a key role by providing enough spaces. For instance, in Denmark farmer cooperatives are diversifying their incomes by investing in wind energy. Almost a quarter of wind energy sourced from wind turbines are owned by the Danish farmers. The same trend is taking place in Germany where farmers have established private companies to develop wind energy projects. Wind farms can be built in farms without any harmful impact on agricultural activities.

Wind energy potential is abundant across the Mediterranean region due to geographical location marked by a long coastline. The integration of wind energy projects in the agricultural sector is an interesting economic opportunity for agricultural enterprises in the region. However, as wind energy projects demand heavy capital, there is a need to mobilize funds to develop such projects.

In addition, there is need to create attractive financing mechanisms for farmers and to build their capacities in developing and managing wind projects. The development of wind energy projects owned by farmers will help them to have an extra revenue stream. It will also lead to decentralization of electricity production, which will not only reduce transmission losses but also decrease reliance on the national grid.

Solar Energy

The Mediterranean region receives one of the highest solar radiation in the world. Large availability of unexploited lands in the region, especially in the Eastern and Southern countries, makes solar energy systems, especially photovoltaics an attractive proposition for regional countries.  Agricultural farms in the Mediterranean region can use PV systems for domestic as well as commercial power generation.  In addition, there are a handful of applications in agricultural sector such as water pumping and irrigation.

Off-grid photovoltaic systems ensure a reliable and completely autonomous water supply at low cost – without fuel-powered generators, battery systems or long power lines. Solar energy can make irrigation independent of grid power. Low-pressure drip irrigation systems can be operated with any photovoltaic-powered pump, making them ideal for areas not connected to the grid. Photovoltaic projects require low capital investment and can be developed at small-to-medium scales.

Bioenergy

A variety of fuels can be produced from agricultural biomass resources including liquid fuels, such as ethanol, methanol, biodiesel, Fischer-Tropsch diesel, and gaseous fuels, such as hydrogen and methane. The agricultural resources include animal manure and crop residues derived primarily from maize, corn and small grains. A variety of regionally significant crops, such as cotton, sugarcane, rice, and fruit and nut orchards can also be a source of crop residues.

Globally, biofuels are most commonly used to power vehicles, heat homes, and for cooking. Biofuels are generally considered as offering many priorities, including sustainability, reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, regional development, social structure and agriculture, and security of supply.        

One of the species that is cultivated and exploited for these purposes is Jatropha curcas which is widely cultivated in Brazil and India for producing biodiesel. Jatropha can be successfully grown in arid regions of the Mediterranean for biodiesel production. These energy crops are highly useful in preventing soil erosion and shifting of sand-dunes. Infact, Jatropha is already grown at limited scale in some Middle East countries, especially Egypt,  and tremendous potential exists for its commercial exploitation.

Conclusion

The time has come for industries in the Mediterranean region, especially the agricultural sector, to undertake the shift necessary to contribute to sustainable development of the MENA region by making the best use of latest technological developments in renewable energy sector.

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Clean Energy Resources in Jordan

The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan is heavily dependent on oil imports from neighbouring countries to meet its energy requirements. The huge cost associated with energy imports creates a financial burden on the national economy and Jordan had to spend almost 20% of its GDP on the purchase of energy in 2008.

Electricity demand is growing rapidly, and the Jordanian government has been seeking ways to attract foreign investment to fund additional capacity. In 2008, the demand for electricity in Jordan was 2,260 MW, which is expected to rise to 5,770 MW by 2020. Therefore, provision of reliable and clean energy supply will play a vital role in Jordan’s economic growth.

In 2007, the Government unveiled an Energy Master Plan for the development of the energy sector, requiring an investment of more than $3 billion between the year 2007 and 2020. The major target of the Plan is to enhance the contribution of renewable energy in the energy mix to 7 percent by 2015 and upto 10 percent by 2020. Concerted efforts are underway to remove barriers to exploitation of renewable energy, particularly wind, solar and biomass. 

Renewable Energy Scenario

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. Systematic monitoring of the technological developments and implementation/execution of demonstration and pilot projects has been the hallmark of Jordan’s foray into clean energy sector. 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.

With high population growth rate, increase in industrial and commercial activities, high cost of imported energy fuels and higher GHGs emissions, supply of cheap and clean energy resources has become a challenge for the Government. Consequently, the need for implementing energy efficiency measures and exploring renewable energy technologies has emerged as a national priority.  

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 300 to 320 days of full sunshine throughout the year. 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.

Presently, Jordan has 1MW biogas plant that utilizes methane from biochemical decomposition of organic waste for electricity production. Expansions are underway to increase the total capacity to 5 MW. There are 2 MW wind farms at Hofa and Al‐Ibrahimiyah in the north working successfully. Moreover, there is an area of 1.35 million m2 of installed solar water heaters panels in Jordan, and a 150 KWh of installed photovoltaic power. In addition, there are 25 solar water heaters factories in Jordan which produce 4000 solar water heater annually.

Future plans include three wind parks with a total capacity of 125‐150 MW, and a hybrid Solar Power Plants (CSP) with a capacity of 100‐250 MW. 60% of the wind turbine parts in the wind parks are supposed to be provided by local wind turbine manufacturers. Meanwhile, private consortiums are looking to establish photovoltaic and concentrated solar power plants in the Ma’an area. 

The €10-million ‘Capacity Building in Wind Energy and Concentrated Solar Power’ project, funded by the European Union, will support Jordan's National Energy Research Centre (NERC) to steer and facilitate the implementation of the Jordanian government's Renewable Energy Strategy 2007-2020 by installing a wind testing facility, as well as a pilot Concentrating Solar Power (CSP) plant.

Investment in Clean Energy

Jordan has tremendous wind, solar and biomass energy potential which can only be realized by large-scale investments. This transition from conventional fuels to renewable energy resources will require capital investments, technology transfer and human resources development, through a package of investments estimated at US $ 1.4 – 2.2 billion. The investment package includes Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) deals for wind energy with a total capacity of 660 MW and solar energy plants of 600 MW. This will be paralleled with the reduction of energy produced from oil from 58% currently to 40% in 2020. The Ministry of Planning and International Cooperation (MOPIC) is actively seeking support for renewable energy and energy efficiency initiatives through continuous cooperation with international partners and donors.

The best prospects for electricity generation in Jordan are as Independent Power Producers (IPPs).  This creates tremendous opportunities for foreign investors interested in investing in electricity generation ventures. Keeping in view the renewed interest in renewable energy, there is a huge potential for international technology companies to enter the Jordan market.  There is very good demand for wind energy equipments, solar power units and waste-to-energy systems which can be capitalized by technology providers and investment groups.

Government Initiatives

The government has also established a new Energy Fund to support the infrastructure development of new renewable energy facilities. In addition the government is seeking to provide tax incentives to remove the barriers for the comprehensive use of energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies in the Jordanian market. 

The strategy will be supported by a "Renewable Energy Law" which includes regulations and incentives for renewable energy production from investments in areas designated to be utilized to build renewable energy facilities. The law provides investors with a lot of incentives including 100 percent exemption from income tax for 10 years. 

Private companies with renewable energy projects will now be able to negotiate directly with the Energy Ministry as part of a series of changes to the sector. Investments in renewable energy will be quicker as part of sweeping changes included in the recently endorsed Renewable Energy Law.

One of the major components of the legislation allows local and international companies to bypass a competitive bidding process and negotiate with the ministry directly to establish renewable energy projects. Also under the law, the National Electric Power Company (NEPCO) will be obligated to purchase any and all electricity produced by renewable energy power plants. The law will also allow citizens with solar power or wind turbines to sell electricity back to their electricity provider. 

Conclusion

There has been significant progress in the implementation of clean energy systems in Jordan, with active support from the government and increasing awareness among the local population. 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.  Jordan has the potential to become a regional energy hub characterised by political as well as economic stability.  The already accomplished projects and studies in this field has provided Jordan with scientific and practical experience, qualifying it for entering a new phase of renewable energy development by means of cooperation between local institutions and foreign companies. 

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Alternative Energy Prospects in Morocco

Morocco, being the largest energy importer in North Africa, is making concerted efforts to reduce its reliance on imported fossil fuels. The country currently imports 95% of its energy needs which creates strong dependence on foreign energy imports. Renewable energy is an attractive proposition as Morocco has almost complete dependence on imported energy carriers. Morocco is already spending over US$3 billion a year on fuel and electricity imports and is experiencing power demand growth of 6.5 per cent a year. Morocco is investing heavily in the power sector by building new power plants such as expansion of coal power plant in JorfLasfer and establishment new coal power plant near Safi.

According to the Moroccan Ministry of Energy and Mining, the total installed capacity of renewable energy (excluding hydropower) was approximately 300MW in 2011. The Moroccan Government has already achieved its target of supplying around 8% of total primary energy from renewables by 2012 which includes energy generation, conversion and distribution. Morocco is planning USD13 billion expansion of wind, solar and hydroelectric power generation capacity which would catapult the share of renewables in the energy mix to 42% by the year 2020, with solar, wind and hydro each contributing 14%. 

Wind Energy

The technical potential of wind energy in Morocco is estimated to be 25 GW. This is the equivalent to 5 times the current installed power capacity in Morocco, and reflects the huge potential in this clean energy source. Morocco has already installed almost 300 MW wind turbines and other projects are being implemented. At the same time, Morocco launched a wind energy plan consisting in the installation of 2000 MW by 2020. Many experts state that Morocco will install total capacities beyond this plan. In fact, wind energy is already cost competitive with respect to conventional energy resources, and due to the technological progress, the cost is even being reduced significantly. Most of the already implemented projects and those being implemented or planned, are developed by public organisations or within the framework of agreements with public organisations.

Solar Energy

The German International Cooperation Agency (GIZ) estimated the potential of solar energy in Morocco to be equivalent to 1500 times the national consumption of electricity. Morocco has invested in solar home systems (SHS) to electrify households in the rural areas. Morocco has launched one of the world’s largest and most ambitious solar energy plan with investment of USD 9billion. The Ain Beni Mather Integrated Solar Thermal Combined Cycle Power Station is one of the most promising solar power projects in Africa.  The plant combines solar power and thermal power, and is expected to reach production capacity of 250MW by the end of 2012. y building mega-scale solar power projects at five location — Laayoune (Sahara), Boujdour (Western Sahara), Tarfaya (south of Agadir), Ain Beni Mathar (center) and Ouarzazate — with modern solar thermal, photovoltaic and concentrated solar power mechanisms.

Hydropower

Morocco is planning to add a total of 2 GW new hydropower capacities, consisting mainly in small and medium stations. This plan should be achieved by 2020, and combined with 2 GW solar energy and 2 GW wind energy capacities would, add a total 6GW renewable energy capacities, which will supply 42% of the Moroccan electricity in 2020. 

Biomass Energy

Unfortunately there is no national strategy to exploit biomass energy in Morocco. However, there are many potential projects which could promote biomass energy sector in the country, such as waste-to-energy, biofuels and biogas from abundant feedstock like solid wastes, crop wastes, industrial wastes etc. The agronomic research has demonstrated the adaptability of new energetic plants to the arid zones. These plants such as Jatropha urcas, could be cultivated in the arid zone in Morocco, and be exploited for biofuels production and as a green barrier against desertification. Like solar and wind, the biomass energy sector also requires support and investment from the government and private sector.

Conclusions

Morocco is endowed with tremendous alternative energy resources which can be exploited to meet national energy requirements as well as export of surplus power to neighbouring countries. Due to its geographical position, Morocco could be a hub for renewable energy exchange between the European Union and North Africa. Renewable energy sector can create good employment opportunities and can also strengthen country’s economy. However, the government should liberalize renewable energy market, encourage public-private partnership and create mass environmental awareness to increase the share of renewable in the national energy mix.

Energy and the Climate: Perspectives for Middle East

Since energy is an absolute necessity for life on Earth, we have utilized many sources of energy to maintain and improve the lives of people around the globe. The ultimate source of energy is the Sun of course, since all living things on Earth such as plants, trees, animals and humans need the Sun’s energy. In addition to the Sun, we have utilized other sources of energy such as oil, coal and nuclear fission.  However, energy has many different forms and we use different forms of energy for different applications. For example, nuclear energy is mostly used to generate electricity, while oil is used to fuel our cars.

Having established the absolute necessity of energy to maintain life on Earth, it is equally critical to understand that energy is also capable of extinguishing life on Earth if misused. For example, the use of oil and coal to generate energy, produces different gases, mostly carbon monoxide, that have negative impact on the environment. Such a negative impact has been identified by scientists as global warming. It has been established that global warming is directly related to the increased level of carbon monoxide in our atmosphere.  As the temperature on Earth continues to rise, the entire climate will start to change as a result of the higher temperature on the surface of Earth. Moreover, any changes in the climate will have a direct impact on life. For example, many plants, trees and even animals may not be able to survive in hotter climate in a specific region of Earth, yet the impact of such change will be felt all over the world.

Energy and Climate Change

Energy has a direct impact on the climate and as a result has direct impact on all living creatures on Earth. It is the responsibility of all people on Earth to preserve our current climate by using clean sources of energy, such as solar and wind, and moving away from oil and coal. Climate has direct impact not only on the food we eat, but on our ability to survive in certain regions of the planet.

Since most people in developing countries do not completely understand the direct relationship between the energy they use and the climate change as a result, while others in the more developed countries put economical gain ahead of the environment, additional laws with larger penalties may be needed to be enforced around the world. In addition, all governments must focus on the research and development of clean energy sources and slowly move away from oil and coal as both sources are considered to be the ultimate sources of pollution to the environment, which may result in permanent change to the climate on Earth. Meanwhile, and until the clean energy sources are fully developed and utilized around the world, maintaining current trees and planting new ones will definitely help offset the effects caused by the release of Carbone Monoxide into the air.  

Difference between China and the Middle East

It has been known for some time now that China has been one of the largest contributors to air pollution due to its significant economic growth which mostly depends on oil, and its large population; however, the Middle East is also on top of the list of countries and regions that heavily depend on cheap oil prices to power the engine of their economies. The main difference however, between China and the rich-oil countries in the Middle East is that in recent years, China has signed several international agreements to reduce air pollution by different means. The Chinese people in addition, have come a long way to better understand the global impact due to air pollution.

The oil-rich countries in the Middle East on the other hand, are still behind very much the rest of the world in this area, mainly due to the lack of education on many of the environmental issues, as well as the lack of any alternative energy sources. However, time has come for all these countries to start looking into other alternative energy sources before it is too late

Pressure on Industrialized Countries

As more and more people on this planet become aware of the deadly consequences of using oil as a source of energy, the internal and external pressure keeps mounting on the industrialized countries to look for alternative energy sources. In fact, it is only a matter of time before these industrialized countries develop alternative energy sources on mass scale, which may eventually cause the death of the oil industry completely. For example, the use of cold fusion as an energy source would make the price of one barrel of oil less than $1.

Most, if not all of the oil-rich countries today believe that there is no need to make the transition to clean energy because the world needs their oil, or at least, they can continue to power their economies using oil instead of clean energy. But the sad truth is that once an alternative clean energy sources have been identified, these oil rich nations would have no choice but to abandon their oil fields and move into the alternatives. One simple fact these nations need to consider is that in the foreseeable future, developed countries would boycott all products and services created and maintained using oil-powered factories instead of clean energy.

Currently, there are many clean energy sources that have been developed, tested and used around the world. Some of these sources include solar energy, wind energy, water energy, geothermal energy, ocean energy, biomass and of course, nuclear (fission and fusion) energies. The use of any of those alternative energy sources doesn’t release any Carbon Dioxide into the atmosphere and will maintain the level of Carbon Dioxide in the atmosphere at acceptable ratio.

Transition to Clean Energy

For the rich-oil countries in the Middle East, the transition from oil-dependent economies to clean energy dependent economies requires three vital ingredients:

  1. Education: people in the Middle East need to first be educated on all environmental issues and why the transition from oil to clean energy source is a necessity at this time. As long as the average man on the Arab street doesn’t understand the imminent danger of climate change and how it is related to the use of oil, then the transition will be difficult, slow and costly. Educating people is the starting point.
  2. Investment: the transition to clean energy will initially require a huge investment in a new infrastructure especially for clean energy. Such infrastructure may not be cheap to build from the ground up, but the return on investment (ROI) will be quit high at the end.
  3. Time: phasing out the oil-dependent economies completely takes time. The transition to clean energy will take many years before reaching the ultimate goal. However, a well-thought out plan to make such a transition is possible provided that these countries are serious, willing and able to make such a move. Starting with one step at a time will definitely lead to the end goal, but someone has to take the first step

Finally, as energy consumption is directly related to climate change, energy conservation is also directly related to environmental issues. Though physics laws show the energy is conserved, yet the form of energy we use is not. Therefore, people around the world, especially in the Middle Eastern countries, need to be made aware of the importance of energy conservation. The Middle East countries in general, and GCC countries in particular, must start educating their citizens on energy, climate change and environmental issues.

Energy Answers for the Middle East

The economy of Middle East is practically synonymous with crude oil for the average Western observer, but what most people aren’t aware of is the Middle East hasn’t been doing so well out of its crude oil reserves in recent years. So much so, that it may be the first time in history that we can justifiably declare an imminent state of Peak Oil in these regions.

It is an understandably bold statement, and one that will come as a surprise to many… especially those who have been blindsided by the more general, global statistics. Besides a slight dip over the course of 2013, it appears that crude oil production around the world is in on an upward trend, and peak oil doesn’t seem to be on this side of the horizon.

But there’s a reason why production looks so healthy, and it isn’t anything to do with the Middle East region. If we exclude North America from the statistics, we’re left with a much bleaker picture.It is clear that it is only the U.S. and Canada who are bolstering production figures for the rest of the world. Everywhere else is seeing a sharp decline – and likely prolonged – decline.

Worse, even North America seems to be suffering once you dig into the details; their own upswing rests solely upon shale reserves, a sub-set of oil production that is becoming increasingly hard to recover in way that is economically viable. This is why less than 30% of shale operations take place outside of America and Canada, since they have almost exclusive access to the specialized rigs required to obtain shale oil.

Flow Reversal

Last month, BP were given the all-clear to commence drilling for shale gas in Oman (which set them back a startling $16 billion dollars for the contract). Other than this, however, most of the fossil fuel action now seems to be flowing out of America rather than towards it, and it’s highly likely that the U.S. and Canada will begin to export its excess oil to regions that, historically, used to produce it themselves. The shale boom has already crippled the European refineries, and West African suppliers are suffering a similar fate.

Given that the Middle East region is also in the firing line, what can be done to mitigate this, or at least lessen the dependency on crude oil?

United Arab Emirates is arguably just as famous for its oil as it is as pioneers of green technology. Cities such as Abu Dhabi (and Masdar City in particular) are well known for their greenery, advanced architecture, eco initiatives and focus on carbon-neutral municipal planning.

Great advances have been made already in these ‘green cities of the future’, and further innovations would be welcome. Improved water recycling or an increase in roof gardens are all areas which could drive things ever forward.

Dubai Wasn’t Built in a Day

As well as focusing on how to reduce waste and better use the resources we do have, it should also be remembered that many countries in the Middle East weren’t exclusively built on oil.

For instance, it’s a common misconception that Dubai’s great wealth came from the black gold; while the towering metropolis of today is markedly different from the settlement that has stood their since antiquity, it has blossomed for thousands of years as a prime location for trade. While oil has undeniably played its part, less than 7% of the emirate’s revenues actually come from oil and gas.

Dubai is a good example in that it has recognized the need for diversification in recent years. It remains a global hub for trade – accounting for 16% of its revenue – and has recently established itself as a huge market for real estate, construction and tourism. A good move on Dubai’s part, really, since its oil is expected to run out in the near future.

Ultimately, the answer seems to fall somewhere between Abu Dhabi’s focus on alternative energies and Dubai’s focus on different revenue streams. What is clear, however, is that focusing solely on chasing down the last barrel of oil is not a foolish move economically, but one which is will short-change our environment in the process.

Renewable Energy in the Middle East

The Middle East energy sector has played and will continue to play an important role in the regional as well as global economy. The oil and gas sector is the largest economic sector in the region. In addition to satisfying energy needs for economic and social development, it is the source of oil and gas export revenues contributing to economic development. Regional countries are heavily dependent on oil and gas to meet their domestic energy demand. Oil contributes more than half of the total energy demand in the Middle East while the rest is contributed by natural gas. Widespread use of fossil fuels has led to severe impact on the environment.  High rate of population coupled with rapid industrialization has led to tremendous increase in energy demand which, in turn, is contributing to significant increase in greenhouse gas emissions.

In recent years, the clamor for renewable energy has increased significantly in the Middle East which may be attributed to concerns regarding global warming and depletion of fossil fuels. Regional countries whose environments are extremely intensive in terms of the carbon emissions and energy usage, like the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia, have taken concrete steps and developed strategies to produce clean energy on large-scale to lower carbon footprint and foster sustainable development.

During the last few years, UAE, Qatar and Saudi Arabia have unveiled multi-billion dollar plans to Improve alternative energy scenario in their respective countries. The most notable example is the Masdar City of Abu Dhabi that has developed a holistic approach to tackle global warming and implement sustainable energy technologies. It will be a sustainable, zero-carbon and zero-waste modern urban habitat. The Masdar City strives to promote innovation and sustainable urban development in a modern cleantech cluster and free economic zone. Another important objective is to involve and support youngsters in the transition to a low-carbon economy.  

The world’s biggest oil-producer, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, is also investing heavily in clean energy technologies to ensure a better future for the coming generation. One of the top priorities of the country is to harness the tremendous solar energy potential available across the country. Saudi Arabia’s interest in renewable energy is a big morale-booster for less-developed regional economies, like Jordan, Egypt and Morocco, to develop ambitious clean energy programs.

Conclusions

Large-scale investments and new sustainable development projects are expected to transform the Middle East into the ultimate destination for clean energy technologies which will not only lower carbon footprint of the region but also reduce the cost of solar, wind and other renewable energy systems. The world’s dependence on Middle East energy resources has caused the region to have some of the largest carbon footprints per capita worldwide. The region is now gearing up to meet the challenge of global warming with the rapid growth of the renewable energy sector. Mass deployment of renewable energy systems is a necessity in the Middle East as the region is grappling with environmental issues like industrial pollution, water-scarcity and unsustainable energy consumption. A successful transition from fossil fuel-based economy to one dependent on renewable energy resources will usher in a new era of peace, prosperity and security in the Middle East. 

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.