Written By: Emma Websdale
Jordan Wind Project Company (JWPC) has signed a financing agreement to begin construction of the Middle East’s first utility-scale wind-power project which, when operational, will increase the country’s power capacity by 3%.
Located in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, the 117MW Tafila Wind Farm will cost an estimated US$290 million and will produce 400 GWh (gigawatt-hours) of electricity a year –increasing Jordan’s total power generation capacity by 3%.
The windfarm, set to be financed by JWPC, is a cooperative venture involving three parties. InfraMed -an investment vehicle targeting economic infrastructure investments in the energy, urban development and transport sectors, will fund 50%. The remaining capital will be supplied by Abu Dhabi’s renewable energy company Masdar (31%) and renewable energy project developer EP Global Energy (19%).
The new JWPC project is part of an effort to meet Jordan’s growing electricity demand, which is expected to rise by 5% annually until 2020. Once fully complete, the wind project will displace 235,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions a year.
“JWPC’s highly reputable group of investors is a testament to the quality of the JWPC development and the promising investment climate in renewable energy projects in Jordan”, says Samer Judah, chairman of JWPC. “Our country has suffered from a lack of domestic conventional energy sources and from serious challenges in security of energy imports. Jordan, however, has abundant renewable resources, and this will be the first and a showcase for many such projects to come.”
Tafila Wind Farm is the first wind power project to be developed under Jordan’s Renewable and Energy Efficiency Law that passed in 2010. The law, which calls for the country to produce 7% of its electricity from renewable energy sources by 2015, is set to expand further to a goal of 10% by 2020. JWPC will start power delivery in 2014, and when the farm is fully operational in 2015, it will account for almost 10% of Jordan’s 2020 renewable energy target.
“Jordan is one of the Middle East’s most promising clean energy markets and this project is another milestone in the region’s energy evolution”, says Dr. Sultan Al Jaber, CEO of Masdar. “Jordan is a prime example of where the cost of renewable energy is lower than conventional sources of power generation. This project is a natural step towards Jordan’s energy and economic security.”
Jaber adds, “Today, countries in the region are increasingly integrating wind and solar power as commercially viable solutions to address long-term energy security. Just like the rest of the world, the Middle East is faced with meeting rising energy demand, while also reducing its carbon footprint.”
JWPC’s announcement follows figures from the International Energy Agency that says the world’s electricity generation from wind power could jump from today’s 2.6% to 18% by 2050, with the help of US$150 billion a year.