Abundance of Sun
For decades oil has been one of the major exports for many middle eastern countries. As fate would have it, it seems this region has hit the energy jackpot more than once.
Not only do middle eastern countries sit on top of vast amount of oil reserves that power our global economies. The region also has geographic advantages regarding the production of renewable energy. Particular, solar energy.
The middle eastern countries receive an abundance of sunlight that position them to be major producers of renewable solar/thermal energy. But up until recently this potential has not been tapped. As renewable energy support and investment grows in the region, this will begin to change.
According to Jordan’s Minister of Energy and Mineral Resources, Hala Zawati. The value of investments in the country’s renewable energy sector reached 1.5 billion in 2018 and is expected to rise to $4 billion by 2020. Zawati’s remarks came during the Energy Charter Treaty (ECT) 2018 Conference in Brussels.
Some of the political and economic frameworks are already in place to support commerce and energy trade into Europe.
Jordan was the first Arab country to accede to the Energy Charter Treaty. The Energy Charter Treaty is a multilateral framework for energy cooperation that operates under international law.
It is designed to promote energy security through the operation of open and competitive energy markets, while respecting the principles of sustainable development and sovereignty over energy resources. Currently there are fifty-three signatories and contracting parties to the treaty, mostly countries from the European region. Jordan became a party to this Treaty on December 11, 2018. Jordan views the treaty as a first step in the road map for greater cooperation in the energy sector.
Zawati stressed the importance of the treaty in enhancing investor confidence in Jordan’s energy investment climate, as well as encouraging energy trade and transit through Jordan and facilitating energy security in the region. Zwati said that Jordan’s geographical location played a vital role as a transit country and that its membership in the Energy Charter Treaty would enhance the investment climate in the development and construction of regional electricity networks.
But developing an interconnected energy grid still presents a major challenge. Aside from the technically and political challenge of creating an interconnected energy grid. Will Jordan produce enough renewable energy to meet demands? Contribution of renewable energy to the national power grid of Jordan reached around 10 percent in 2018 and is expected to increase to 20 percent by 2020.
How much of this energy it can realistically export is still up in the air. So before any renewable energy is traded, Jordan will certainly need to build up its capacity and storage facilities.