Jordan sustains utility infrastructure progress

6 June 2023

This package on Jordan’s power and water sector also includes:

Jordan extends $2bn water scheme bid deadline
> Masdar inaugurates 200MW Jordan solar plant
> Jordan signs Ghabawi wastewater plant deal
> Jordan signs $99m solar funding

 

Jordan reached a new level of electricity peak load on the evening of 1 February, recorded at 4,060MW by state utility National Electric Power Company (Nepco).

This was slightly higher than the previous peak registered in January 2022 of 4,010MW.

With a total generation installed capacity of over 6,400MW, the kingdom is comfortable dealing with such demand peaks.

However, with the share of total generation capacity accounted for by solar and wind sources estimated at a substantial 2,371MW, Jordan could benefit from battery energy storage systems (BESS), as well as grid interconnection with its neighbours. 

As it is, Iraq stands to benefit from Jordan’s substantial production surplus, with construction reaching the final stage for the Jordan-Iraq electricity interconnection project.

US-based GE is implementing the project. It comprises a 288-kilometre overhead line from Jordan to Iraq’s Qaim area.

Another project to connect the electricity grid of Jordan to Saudi Arabia is in the tendering process. The estimated $1bn package is expected to enable the daily exchange of 500MW of electricity in its initial phase and up to 1,000MW in a later phase. 

Region plans vital big grid connections

Renewable energy lead

Jordan is anticipated to sustain its renewable energy leadership in the Middle East and North Africa (Mena) region.  

In February this year, Baynouna Solar Energy Company (BSCE) formally inaugurated the 200MW Baynouna solar park. BSCE is a joint venture of the UAE-based clean energy firm Masdar and the Finnish investment and asset management group Taaleri.

The project is Masdar’s second renewable energy asset in Jordan after the 117MW Tafila wind farm, which was completed in 2015.

The inauguration came on the heels of the signing in November 2022 of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between Masdar and the Jordanian Energy & Mineral Resources Ministry (MEMR) to explore the development of a further 2GW of renewable energy projects in the country.

In addition to utility-scale power and wind projects, Jordan is also making progress with its small-scale solar distribution network.

In February this year, Amman-based Future Sun Renewable Energy Systems and Safwa Islamic finalised a loan agreement for a JD70m ($98.7m) project to install solar power plants at industrial enterprises.

The bank agreed to provide Future Sun with JD70m to fund a 100MW solar power project at 84 industrial enterprises that are Future Sun shareholders. The project is expected to cut electricity costs by JD15m, and each beneficiary will have a solar PV system with a maximum capacity of 2MW.

Water projects

There are growing opportunities for water infrastructure contractors in Jordan as well. A 200MW hydropower plant in Al-Mujib and a water desalination conveyance system in Hisban are planned. The Water Authority of Jordan (WAJ) is planning several wastewater collection and network projects and a desalination plant.

In February, the Water & Irrigation Ministry and the local firm Arab Towers Contracting Company signed an agreement worth 79.5m ($84.7m) to design and implement a wastewater treatment plant in the Ghabawi region.

The European Bank for Reconstruction & Development (EBRD) will provide a 41.3m loan, while the EU has agreed to provide a 30m grant for the project.

Engicon and CDM Smith Europe have signed a $1.2m supervision contract for the project, funded by an EBRD grant.

Under the two agreements, the water authority will build a treatment plant with a capacity of 24,750 cubic metres a day, with sewage tanks instead of the primary type of treatment plant equipment in the Ain Ghazal region.

The project will help to improve the area’s environmental conditions and reduce the biological load on the Khirbet Samra treatment plant.

The country’s largest, single water infrastructure project to date continues to face delays, however. Tendered in March 2022, bids are due this month for the estimated $2bn Aqaba-Amman water desalination and conveyance project.

The build-operate-transfer (BOT) project will pipe water from the southern coast to the country’s northern regions.

The first phase will involve the construction of 280,000 cubic metres a day (cm/d) of capacity for desalination and 80,000 cm/d of groundwater. A planned second phase will raise the plant’s overall production to 600,000 cm/d.

The conveyance segment of the project includes the construction of a seawater intake pump station, reservoir, pipeline, booster pump stations and freshwater collection pipes.

The project is expected to use clean energy in line with the government’s commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

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Jennifer Aguinaldo
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