Interview: Saleh Kharabsheh
How will the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Programme serve to further develop and grow Jordan’s green economy?
SALEH KHARABSHEH: Jordan aims to become energy independent, and we are already on track to meet our goal of producing 10% of our energy mix from renewable sources by 2020. Prices are down sharply in this market, and all incentives are set up to maximise growth in the coming years. Jordan aims to play a major role in the future by becoming a leading country in the region, as well as a centre for green electricity trading. Beyond production facilities, new infrastructure challenges include offset the intermittency of wind and solar energy generation. So we have already started to invite the private sector to invest in new technologies that will contribute to the development energy storage facilities. A number of programmes support the government of Jordan in its shift to a greener economy by carrying out a number of projects and initiatives. These programmes will complement recent institutional, legislative and fiscal reforms, which have helped create an enabling environment to mobilise public and private actors in order to reach the goal of achieving energy savings of 20% by 2020. We are also aiming to fully implement programmes that will enhance sustainable production and consumption patterns, induce behavioural changes and improve our resource management by supporting the best available technologies.
What types of public-private partnerships (PPPs) are needed to promote clean energy practices?
KHARABSHEH: The private sector’s involvement through investment, innovation, leadership and commitment is critical. In order to promote, enhance and strengthen PPPs the government of Jordan has created a policy and legal framework that provide investors with a high degree of predictability, a level playing field, low transaction costs and fair rates of return that are commensurate with the risk that they have to take.
Our direct proposal submission rounds are a successful example of our success in this field. In December 2016 we opened the door again for investment in renewable energy, and announced a third round of direct proposals for 200-MW solar photovoltaic projects and 100-MW wind projects, with 50 MW each for both wind and solar projects, which satisfy the green corridor requirements. Moreover, the government’s energy policy is based on private sector involvement through the use of independent power producers (IPP) and build-operate-own schemes, and today Jordan is a successful model for IPP schemes, as it boasts five IPPs.
Where do you see the most potential within the county’s energy mix moving forward?
KHARABSHEH: We face challenges in our economic system due to growing energy needs and dependence on imported energy resources. The Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources has a programme of cooperation, which aims to foster linkages between scientific institutions, and the business community by encouraging private investment. We are confident that this enhanced cooperation will contribute towards securing long-term growth and increased prosperity, and will be vital for preserving Jordan’s natural resources.
We are actively working on implementing our National Energy Strategy and Vision 2025. This transformation strategy entails a robust package of legislative, administrative and technological innovations, which aim to steer the country into more reliable, sustainable and environmentally friendly energy resources. Transformation is already happening; emphasis on renewables is a significant factor driving overall transformation, along with conservation initiatives, subsidies and grants for new technologies.
All of these different innovations can be connected to the government’s efforts to reduce its energy consumption and reliance on fossil fuel generation technology through the diversification of its energy sources.