Oil shale represents a significant potential resource for Jordan, as it underlies more than 60 percent of Jordanian territory, with total deposits estimated at 70 billion tons. There are around 26 known oil shale deposits, the eight most important of which are located in west-central Jordan. In this field, the Atarat Oil Shale-Fired Power Plant is expected to be complete at the Attarat um Ghudran oil shale deposit in central Jordan by 2020, making it the first oil shale-fired power plant in Jordan and the second-largest plant of its kind in the world.
To counter the challenges demonstrated by the growing need for electricity in Jordan, the country invested in a nuclear power program to generate energy in a safe, reliable and economically proven way. In 2015, Jordan signed a USD 10 billion agreement with Russia’s state-owned nuclear firm Rosatom to build the country’s first nuclear power plant, with two reactors at a total capacity of 2,000 megawatts.
Renewable Energy Sources
Under Jordan’s National Energy Strategy, renewable energy is a priority. Over the years, the country has fostered numerous public-private partnerships to establish projects that will help diversify the energy mix and reduce its costs. Investments in Jordan’s renewable energy sector have exceeded USD 1.4 billion, prompting the country to achieve its desired goal of supporting renewable energy sources in the total energy mix by 10 percent by 2020.
Encouraging business in this field, Jordan has exempted the systems and equipment of renewable energy sources and energy efficiency from all customs duties and sales tax. As more companies operate in the clean technology and renewable energy field, Jordan can emerge as a regional hub for clean technologies, curtailing energy spending while generating hundreds of job opportunities.
The first project of its kind in Jordan and the Middle East, the Tafila Wind Farm is a 117-megawatt project producing 400-gigawatt hours per year. In 2016, the 86 megawatt Maan wind project was inaugurated with an expectation to generate 200-gigawatt hours per year. In 2017, construction of the 89.1 megawatts Jordan Fujeij Wind Farm began, and it is set to be commercially operational in 2018.
Located within the world’s solar belt, Jordan enjoys one of highest global radiation values, with more than 300 sunny days a year. Small-scale installations of renewable energy systems have long been used in Jordan as a means of reducing electricity bills. Nearly 15 percent of all households are equipped with solar water heating systems with plans to increase this rate to 30 percent by 2020. Additionally, there are plans to install photovoltaic solar systems for power generation at over 6,000 mosques across Jordan. Jordan has also taken tangible steps to promote solar-powered vehicles, inaugurating its first solar-powered charging station for electric cars at El Hassan Science City in February 2012.
The largest privately owned solar photovoltaic power plant in Jordan and the Middle East, Shams Ma’an Power Generation has a capacity of 52.5 megawatts and can produce 160 gigawatts hours per year, accounting for approximately 1 percent of Jordan’s total power generation capacity.