With high population growth rate, increase in industrial and commercial activities, high cost of imported energy fuels and higher GHGs emissions, supply of cheap and clean energy resources has become a challenge for the Government. Consequently, the need for implementing energy efficiency measures and exploring renewable energy technologies has emerged as a national priority. Wind energy is feasible mainly in areas overlooking the Jordan Valley and Wadi Araba. Solar energy potential is also high since many parts of the country experience 300 to 320 days of full sunshine throughout the year. Biomass energy potential is also attractive in the form of urban wastes, organic industrial wastes and animal manure.
The solar energy potential in Jordan is enormous as it lies within the solar belt of the world with average solar radiation ranging between 5 and 7 kWh/m2. As per the Energy Master Plan, 30 percent of all households are expected to be equipped with solar water heating system by the year 2020. One of the most promising potential investments will be installing more than 250 MW of concentrated solar power (CSP) in Jordan’s Ma’an development zone through different projects developed by the private sector.
Qawar Energy, in partnership with Maan Development Area (MDA), has recently announced the launch of $400 million Shams Ma’an Project, a 100MW photovoltaic (PV) power plant project to come up at the MDA industrial park. On the other hand, Jordan’s Badr Investments is leading a consortium to raise up to $425 million for another 100 MW concentrating solar power (CSP) plant in Ma’an. California-based company Ausra has been chosen to supply solar steam boilers to the 100MW JOAN1 concentrated solar thermal power (CSP) project in development in Ma’an. The JOAN1 project is expected to enter operation in 2013 and will be the largest CSP project in the world using direct solar steam generation.