Jordan's Feed-in-Tariff for Renewable Energy
is an Arab World First
Dec 10, 2012 - Tafline Laylin - greenprophet.com
Jordan is the first country in the Arab world to
offer its residents an opportunity to earn money
through feed-in-tariffs (FITs). The Electricity Regulatory
Commission (ERC) announced last week that citizens
of one of the world’s most fuel-deprived nations
can sell energy generated with solar panels for 120
fils per kilowatt/hour (kw/h) and wind power for
85 fils per kw/h, The Jordan Times reports. Albeit
seemingly insignificant, the move is expected to
mitigate the dual problems of excess energy consumption
and unfulfilled demand.
Instituting FITs for energy generated using renewable
sources is the last in a series of measures taken
by Jordan to bridge the gap between its energy
demand and supply.
“With rising international oil prices, the
government has been looking for ways to reduce electricity
demand and costs,” ERC Chief Commissioner Mohammad
Hamid told reporters, according to the paper.
“We found that the best way to achieve both
is by encouraging Jordanians to go solar.”
Individuals, small businesses and the industrial
sector are encouraged to use the new FIT system,
which could facilitate energy savings of up to 70
per cent each month.
“A large factory can save as much as JD11,799
(USD16, 641.75) per year with a 50 kilowatt solar
array,” the ERC noted.
Like its neighbor Israel, the Hashemite Kingdom
has long relied on natural gas from Egypt to satiate
a growing energy demand – an unhealthy dependence
underscored by a series of attacks on Egypt’s
pipelines over the two years.
While the new FIT program will slash Jordan’s
energy consumption and slow its greenhouse gas emissions,
and this is a positive development, this new policy
should not be seen as an altruistic measure.
Jordan is so desperate to strengthen its resilience
to changes in an already wobbly energy supply chain,
it will accept just about any source – regardless
of its environmental impact.
This is best illustrated by the Ministry of Energy
and Mineral Resources’ near unchecked plan
to build oil shale plants throughout the Kingdom.
The most recent Memorandum of Understanding signed
with Global Oil Shale Holdings (GOSH) is the fourth
such deal penned to date.
Even so, the ERC’s announcement ushers in
a new era of possibility. Whilst there is little
indication that Jordanian residents will receive
much assistance to purchase their solar panels, which
cost up to $2,500, the payback period should end
within five to seven years of the initial investment.