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Kingdom receives funding for 250MW power plant agreement

By Taylor Luck - Dec 17,2012 - Last updated at Dec 17,2012

AMMAN — A US firm is set to break ground on a 250-megawatt (MW) power plant in Jordan next month, thanks to $270 million in loans extended by the EU and the US on Monday.

US firm AES and the National Electric Power Company finalised on Monday an agreement to construct a 250MW power plant east of Amman, marking the largest ever American private sector investment in the country’s electricity sector.

The $350 million “Manakher” power plant is set to come online in 2014, according to an AES statement, pushing the country’s national grid capacity to over 3,000MW.

Over half of the thermal powered plant’s cost, some $170 million, will be financed by an Overseas Private Investment Corporation loan, with a $100 million loan from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and $80 million by AES and its Japanese partner firm Mitsui.

The project would meet Jordan’s surging growth in electricity demand, which currently stands at some 7 per cent annually.

Officials say the project also aims to “bridge the gap” ahead of the development of renewable energy and oil shale projects starting in 2014.

In 2009, AES and Mitsui completed a 370MW plant in east Amman which marked Jordan’s first independent and largest electricity generation station.

The Manakher power station is to be built next to the east Amman plant and is forecast to create some 800 direct job opportunities, according to AES.

Monday’s loan is part of the EBRD’s strategy to pump some 2.5 billion euros in investments in Jordan, Morocco, Egypt and Tunisia by 2015, according to a statement from the bank.

Jordan currently imports over 97 per cent of its energy needs at a cost of over one-fifth of the gross domestic product. 

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