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Storage key to harnessing full potential of Jordan’s green energy — experts

By Imke van Smoorenburg - Jan 12,2022 - Last updated at Jan 12,2022

Wind turbines are seen at the Tafileh Wind Farm, some 180km southwest of Amman (File photo)

AMMAN — Jordan has secured a pioneering status in renewables, yet it is still facing a major challenge: Energy surplus.

Interviewed by The Jordan Times, officials and experts underlined the need to utilise high technology to store energy produced from renewables, be they solar or wind.

Acknowledging that Jordan has achieved “tremendous” progress in the renewable energy sector, other experts called on the government to extend more incentives to businesses.

Jordan is seen as a front-runner of renewable energy within the Middle East, according to Mohammad Taani, secretary general of the Arab Renewable Energy Commission (AREC). 

Jordan’s solar and wind energy have been the most prevalent, accounting for nearly 20 per cent of the country’s electricity grid, according to the International Trade Administration’s website.

The conditions for solar energy are ideal in Jordan, where the average number of sunny days per year is 316, combined with large desert areas that are sparsely populated, the International Trade Administration’s website said. 

Despite the favourable climate conditions for renewable energy, “Jordan is facing struggles in the expansion of its renewable energy network”, Saleh Kharabsheh, Minister of Energy and Mineral resources told The Jordan Times in a phone interview. 

“Difficulties continue to be a result of a number of issues, including the grid’s ability to absorb renewable energy, the nature of renewable energy, and the storage of generated electricity,” Kharabsheh said.

The Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources is conducting technical studies to explore the various methods for putting more into storage, Kharabsheh added. 

Within the National Energy Strategy 2020-2030, Jordan aims to reduce the carbon emissions by 10 per cent by 2030. It also plans to expand renewable energy’s share from 11 per cent in 2020 to 14 per cent in 2030, according to the strategy.

“Looking at the long-term prospects of Jordan and its renewable energy, the successes of Jordan’s renewable energy system will be determined by technical improvement, the ability to store more of its generated energy, and the pricing of the various energy systems,” the minister said.

The Renewable Energy Investment Society, a non-profit organisation, conducts research studies about renewable energy and holds seminars on the benefits of renewable energy. 

“Renewable energy in Jordan has received more attention over the last years, with more projects being developed and awareness about the energy expanding,” said Renewable Energy Investment Society’ Director Jamal Nawaiseh. 

“The primary challenges Jordan faces in terms of renewable energy are high project prices, primarily owing to high taxes, extensive regulatory procedures for new projects, and the storage problem,” Nawaiseh noted.

According to Nawaiseh, the government could undertake some steps in making this sector more appealing to businesses. 

“The government could boost the investment in renewable energy by lowering taxes and customs for targeted renewable energy projects,” he said.

“The future of the renewable energy is relying on the government and its governmental decisions,” Nawaiseh noted. 

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