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Renewable energy in Jordan (Universities, Projects and Laws)

Jordan seeks to invest in renewable sources of energy – primarily solar and wind – available in the Kingdom, in an effort to reduce fuel import and retain foreign currency, which is often spent on purchasing non-renewable energy or its sources such as crude oil and others. The Jordanian Government has therefore quickly promulgated laws and provided facilities for implementing renewable energy projects and opening the door for companies active in this field.

This article provides a detailed explanation of Jordan’s renewable energy sector, its available sources in the Kingdom, and an introduction to Jordanian universities that teach the major of renewable energy engineering, as well as an introduction to the law enacted to support investment in this sector, and finally provides a reference to some researches and books on this subject.

Specialization in renewable energy engineering in Jordanian universities

Renewable energy engineering is one of the branches of engineering that specializes in studying the production of energy from renewable sources in order to be used in different aspects of life. 

As a result of the steady rise in traditional energy prices and the increasing need for energy as the population significantly increases, the demand to study this specialization is increasing in order to meet the energy need from alternative renewable sources that meet the needs of countries, including Jordan, which imports more than 93% of its total capacity.

University specializations in the major of renewable energy cover the theoretical aspect that combines electricity engineering with thermal-mechanical engineering, address the different fields of energy and its various renewable and non-renewable sources, and how to use them with renewable energy technologies such as photovoltaic, solar thermal energy and others.

Several Jordanian universities teach this specialization, including:

  • Al al-Bayt University is an official Jordanian university, founded in 1993, providing an opportunity to study in renewable energy engineering at an acceptance rate of 90.3%.
  • AlBalqa Applied University/Branch of Prince Hussein bin Abdullah II Academy: This university offers a Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering – Renewable Energy since 2018, with the aim of providing Jordan with engineers specializing in the field of renewable energy. The acceptance rate is 80.10% in 2022.
  •  University of Private Applied Sciences Is the first private university in Jordan to receive global accreditation of ABET in its engineering programs, including the specialization of renewable energy technology, which is concerned with the study of renewable energy systems from an applied technical perspective, such as solar and bioenergy systems and various energy systems. It includes a research center for renewable energy which provides students with practical training in this field.
  • Philadelphia University: Is one of the most important private universities in Jordan, founded in 1989, and it is classified second at the level of Jordanian universities and first at the level of Jordanian private universities.
  • Middle East University: Is a Jordanian private university, founded in 2005 for educational research rather than for profit purposes, applying its motto “Knowledge is power”. It focuses on improving performance and developing strategies that allow graduates to hold leading positions in society after graduation, and provides the opportunity of enrolling in several degrees including renewable energy engineering at an acceptance rate of 80.0%.

Acceptance rate of renewable energy engineering in Jordan

Jordan’s acceptance rate for renewable energy engineering ranges from 80.0% to 90% depending on the university and the year of application.

Renewable Energy Projects in Jordan

Jordan relies heavily on energy imports, meaning considerable pressure on the State budget and a continuing need for foreign currencies.

This has prompted the country to consider alternative energy solutions dominated by renewable energies, especially solar and wind energy, because of the Kingdom’s geographical location.

The Kingdom of Jordan is located in the Sun Belt region, which allows it to receive high amount of solar energy where the number of sunny days in the Kingdom reaches 316 days per year at an average of eight hours per day.

On the other hand, many areas of the Kingdom are suitable for constructing wind power plants due to the arrival of wind speeds between 7 and 8.5 meters per second, which are appropriate for the purpose.

The country has been implementing these steps in practice since 2012, with the promulgation of a number of regulations and laws, the first of which is the Renewable Energy Act and the Rationalisation of Energy Act No. 13 as a step to encourage orientation in this area, and to open the investment door by cooperating with a number of specialized agencies and centers to improve the sector, implement a number of projects, and sign a number of agreements to establish future projects, among the most prominent projects implemented by the Kingdom of Jordan:

  • Tafila Wind Farm: This project is the first private renewable energy project in Tafila Governorate, southeast of the Dead Sea, meeting the energy needs of 80,000 homes in Jordan.
  • Baynouna Solar Power Plant: Is Jordan’s largest solar project in eastern Amman with an annual production capacity covering 160,000 homes, contributing to reduction of emission of 360,000 tons of pollutants per year. 

The project is led by Masdar Emirates Company in partnership with the government of Jordan, which alone covers about 3% of Jordan’s energy consumption. Watch this video

  • Ma ‘an Wind Energy Project: Is a renewable energy project owned by the government of Jordan with funding from Kuwait, with a capacity of 200 GWh of clean electricity per hour annually. Watch Video

Importance of renewable energy projects to Jordan

Jordan’s reliance on renewable sources of energy as an alternative to its economic and environmental problems is increasing, therefore the country has been completing many renewable energy projects, and signing agreements for future ones. 

Also, Jordan has already begun to exploit solar energy for local purposes, by covering the daily energy needs of homes and places of worship, as well as introducing it into commercial and industrial sectors.

On the other hand, these projects provide new employment opportunities for Jordanian youth, and contribute to reducing the unemployment rate in Jordan as a result of the retention of foreign currency used to import petroleum and its products in the state treasury to be invested in projects that contribute to reducing unemployment.

Renewable Energy Sources in Jordan:

Jordan has many sources of Renewable energy, mainly the solar and wind energy due to the Kingdom’s geographical location, as well as biomass and waste:

  • Solar energy: It includes photovoltaic and thermal rays resulting from the reaction in the Sun’s centre and reaches the Earth’s surface in the form of different lengths of radiations. 

The Kingdom has high solar radiation rates of up to 5-7 kWh/m2 per day and sunny periods of over 3,000 hours per year, especially in the southern and central regions, making investment in generating electricity from the sun’s energy fruitful and profitable.

  • Wind Energy: Means wind-borne kinetic energy, driven by differences in heat and pressure. Jordan has specific areas in the north, central and south of the Kingdom with winds of up to 8 metres per second throughout the year, making the option to invest in them and exploit their wind in electricity generation ideal.
  • Biomass energy: This energy is confined to the animal waste and solid waste compared to the plant waste which is poor due to limited vegetation and low rainfall in the country. 

The Kingdom invests in organic waste as an energy source. For example, it has transformed the old dock landfill into a biogas production plant to produce electric energy.

  • Geothermal energy: Jordan is known for its geothermal energy in most of its regions. Temperatures are typically between 40-65°C, which is too low to generate electric power, but good for other uses such as recreation and greenhouse heating.

Renewable Energy Situation in Jordan

Jordan is criticised for not adequately exploiting its existing energy sources to address climate change, and water and energy scarcity. 

According to the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA), Jordan’s utilisation of renewable energy accounted for less than 10% in 2017 (less than 1% in wind and hydropower, and less than 4% in solar)

Renewable Energy Law in Jordan

Jordan has been investing in renewable energy since 2012 with the adoption of Act No. 13 on renewable energy and the rationalisation of Jordan’s energy

The Act contains 19 articles providing facilities for investment in the renewable energy sector, and distributing powers to competent ministries and authorities. It outlines the full procedures for the sale of electricity generated from renewable energy and related costs, and covers the tax aspect related to the renewable energy sector.

It also includes an article approving the establishment of the Fund for the Promotion of Renewable Energy and the Rationalisation of Energy with defining the fund’s responsible committee and its associated appointments, its own financial aspect, and finally the legal provisions governing this Act.

Renewable Energy Conferences in Jordan

Jordanian officials have worked to reduce the Kingdom’s dependence on importing foreign fuel on which it relied to produce 97% of its  electricity. Jordan has developed a plan to generate 20% of its electricity needs from renewable energy by 2020, so the country has begun to host conferences on alternative energy.

Of these conferences:

First Arab Renewable Energy Conference 2011

Amman hosted the conference under the theme “Exploring ways to promote the sector and frame Arab efforts working in the sector”. The participants discussed ways to establish links between parties wishing to enter the emerging renewable energy market in the region. 

Two training sessions were held on the sidelines of the conference, concluding with the following recommendations:

  • Adoption of unified Arab policies for the sector to achieve a strategy that enhances the contribution of the sector.
  • Establishment of an Arab fund to support research and studies on renewable energy in Arab countries.
  • Demanding investment in the sector and creating authentic Arab industries in the field of renewable energy.

International Renewable Energy Conference 2013

The conference was held under the theme “Renewable energy and its future in the Arab world”, and called for the following points:

  • Rationalising energy consumption and relying on renewable energy (solar and wind) that is fairly common in the Middle East.
  • Transfering experiences of solar-dependent countries’

A number of recommendations were made:

  • Providing products of sustainable energy in the domestic market at reasonable competitive prices.
  • Directing global workers’ enterprises to provide long-term loans for renewable energy projects of medium and large sizes.
  • Raising citizens’ awareness on the need to rationalise energy consumption and preserve the environment.

Sixth Conference of Renewable Energy in Desert Regions 2018

The conference was launched based on the importance of energy in Jordan and the continuing increase in renewable energy uses, focusing on projects of renewable energy in desert areas and on discussion of alternative energy investment plans and related instructions and regulations.

The conference discussed Jordan’s energy situation and household electricity consumption, the effects of wind technology on the cost of energy in the desert areas, reduction mechanisms of carbon emission, and solar transformation techniques.

Renewable Energy Statistics

The Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources in Jordan has published statistics including the number and capacity of composite renewable energy systems.

The total capacity of renewable energy systems linked to Jordan’s electrical grid was 2,063 MW, distributed in three systems: (transit system, net measurement system, commercial system).

The electricity produced by these projects covers the equivalent of 20% of the Kingdom’s electricity consumption. It is estimated that the contribution of renewable energy to the electricity landscape in 2030 will reach 31% compared to 1% in 2014, according to the statement of the Jordanian Minister of Energy and Mineral Resources.

These statistics demonstrate expansion of the installation of solar home power systems, with the number of installed systems according to the net measurement system increasing from 5,537 in 2019 to 9,018 in 2020.

According to the annual reports of electricity distribution companies operating in the Kingdom of Jordan, the number of solar power systems connected to Jordan’s distribution networks was about 24,000 with a total output of 651 megawatts by the end of 2020. The largest share of this connection was within the areas of the Jordan Electricity Company with a total capacity of 380 MW (58.3%) of the total capacity of the projects installed on the distribution networks in Jordan

In 2020, the growth rate of solar photovoltaic power systems annually connected began to decline, with 124 megawatts connected, compared to 2019 (163.7). 

Renewable Energy Fund in Jordan & Rationalisation of Energy Consumption

The Fund was established under article No. 12 of Renewable Energy Act No. 13 of 2012, affiliated to the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources. It aims at providing necessary funding for renewable energy projects and rationalising energy consumption.

 In 2015, the Renewable Energy Fund Regulation No. 49 regulating the fund’s working mechanisms was promulgated.

The Fund has implemented several projects, aiming at increasing energy usage efficiency and expanding the use of renewable energy in different economic sectors by dividing its work programmes into one of the following forms:

  • Providing revolving loans
  • Guaranteeing loans and reducing risks
  • Providing technical support
  • Providing cash financing
  • Providing support through concessional funding programmes

Renewable energy companies in Jordan:

  • Yarmouk Renewable Energy & Energy Solutions
  • Renewable energy strings
  • Friends Company for Renewable Energy Systems and Solutions
  • Anam East Solar Energy Company
  • Continuous Assets Renewable Energy Company
  • Alpha Renewable Energy Company
  • Sun efficiency for renewable energy systems
  • Creativity House for Renewable Energy
  • Two renewable energy shams
  • Al Aqsa Company for Renewable Energy Systems

Research & studies on renewable energy in Jordan:

In the light of the Kingdom’s growing interest in renewable energies, numerous researches and studies have emerged on Jordan’s potential investment in this sector, including:

Books on renewable energy in Jordan

Renewable Energy in Egypt and Jordan – Current Situation and Future Possibilities book co-authored by Mohamed El Khayat, Majid Mahmoud, Dr. Ahmed Salaimah and Khawla Sevan.

The publication of this book was a good opportunity to introduce renewable energy systems from Egypt and Jordan to large numbers of beneficiaries, and to encourage the political administration of the two countries to work hard in this sector for a sustainable future.

The book discusses the issue of unbalanced reliance on renewable energy sources and their effects, and highlights the lack of political implementation in this area despite the Middle East’s rich resources.

In conclusion, Jordan has begun to make real steps towards investing in renewable sectors, seeking to achieve energy self-sufficiency and energy independence.

May the rest of the Arab States do the same, and begin utilising their renewable energy sources. Do you find it worthy of this attention from the States? Write in comments on the practical steps your country is taking on this path.