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King Abdullah II and Al Jaber join the celebrations to mark the
wind power plant launch in Jordan.

Jordan launches ME's largest utility scale wind power project

TAFILA (Jordan), December 17, 2015

Jordanian government has announced the launch of the region's first utility-scale wind power plant in the kingdom which will produce energy from carbon free resources, displacing 235,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions annually.

The 117-megawatt Tafila wind farm project has been developed by Jordan Wind Project Company (JWPC), an international coalition that includes InfraMed Infrastructure Fund (France), Masdar (UAE) and EP Global Energy (Cyprus).

The wind power plant is directly connected to the national grid and will produce 400 gigawatt-hours of electricity annually, said senior officials of JWPC at the opening ceremony held in the presence of King Abdullah II on Thursday.

The project is in line with a royal vision to diversify energy sources and promote greater reliance on renewable energy. The Tafila Wind Farm was developed in response to the 2010 renewable energy law, calling for around 10 per cent of electricity to come from renewable sources by 2020, they stated.

Once the plant starts operation, it will save the government a total of $50 million annually, the officials added.  

Jordan presently imports around 96 per cent of its energy needs at a cost equivalent to 20 per cent of the country's GDP.

After the launch, King Abdullah II toured the entire plant owned and managed by the JWPC.

At JD85 ($119.4) per megawatt-hour, the wind turbines will produce electricity at less than half the cost of generation for conventional power sources. The project will thus save the government around $50 million every year, and will supply approximately 3.5 per cent of the
country's annual electricity consumption.

Speaking at the launch, JWPC chairman Samer Judeh said: "The Tafila Wind Farm will contribute towards achieving energy security. The project is a quantum leap not only for Jordan but the Arab world as a whole, as it is the first to implement an effective solution for Jordan's energy challenges through a partnership between the public and private sectors."

"We believe the project will stimulate the investment climate for similar renewable energy projects in Jordan to take place and will make Jordan a new and important destination for renewable energy investments in the region," he added.

Minister of Energy and Mineral Resources Dr Ibrahim Saif pointed out that in recent years Jordan had been emphasizing the importance of renewable energy sources.

"The government is implementing a number of studies and programs that improve and develop the use of alternative energy sources, in addition to efforts to create an attractive investment climate in the field of renewable energy," he remarked.

On the project, Frederic Ottavy, the CEO of InfraMed Infrastructure Fund, said the French group was proud to have contributed to the first utility-scale wind farm in the Near-East.

"Our fund's involvement in this successful public-private partnership demonstrates European and North-African investors' resolution towards Jordan's economic development and stability, as much as renewable energies," he added.

The project's foundation stone was laid by JWPC in April 2014 while the construction was completed in August this year.

A total of 38 Vestas V112 wind turbines were installed, where each turbines is 150 meters high including its blades. Tafila was chosen due to its steady, unobstructed wind flow, speed and direction.

Speaking at the launch, Dr Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, UAE Minister of State and chairman of Masdar, said: "The Tafila Wind Farm is a concrete example of how multi-stakeholder partnerships, coupled with the right policies, can solve critical challenges and expand access to new forms of clean and affordable energy across our region."

"Renewable energy contributes to achieving sustainable economic and social development, while also playing a pivotal role in reducing the impacts of climate change. Al Tafila Wind Farm will serve as the foundation from which we will explore future energy partnerships in Jordan," he stated.

EP Global Energy chairman Efthyvoulos Paraskevaides, said the company was proud to have led the development of this pioneering and transformational project in Jordan and at the same time to have contributed to a greener planet.

The International Finance Corporation, and the European Investment Bank arranged the financing of the project, while participants in the lender syndicate included the Dutch Development Bank, Europe Arab Bank, and Opec Fund for International Development, with the Export Credit Agency of Denmark providing a guarantee for a portion of the loans.-TradeArabia News Service

Tags: Jordan | Masdar | wind power project |

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