AMMAN — As part of the effort to increase reliance on renewable energy, Jordan on Tuesday signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with 23 companies and consortia to implement a $40 million project to store electricity generated by power plants.

The electrical storage project, which will be located in Maan development area, some 220km south of the capital, will have the power capacity of at least 30 megawatts, Minister of Energy and Mineral Resources Saleh Kharabsheh told The Jordan Times on Tuesday.

"The project, which will be financed by the private sector, is very important to Jordan and it will maintain stability in the electric supply system… This project will help Jordan absorb more energy generated by renewable energy projects including solar and wind," said the minister.

Electricity generated by solar and wind power plants at the end of 2017 reached 500 megawatts and is expected to reach 2,700 megawatts by 2021, he added.

Under the MoUs, the companies and consortia have six months to submit their technical and financial offers to the ministry after which the selection will be made.

The project is expected to be completed by mid 2019, according to Kharabsheh.

Some of the companies with which the ministry signed the deals are Germany's Innogy SE, UAE's EMA Power Investment Limited, Saudi Arabia’s ACWA Power, Netherland's FRV Solar Holdings IX B.V., China's TBEA Xinjiang Sunoasis Co., Ltd., Japan's Marubeni Corporation and EP Global Energy Ltd. of Cyprus.

They also include Alcazar Energy of Cayman Island, GCL Intelligence Energy Co. Ltd. of China, ITOCHU Corporation of Japan, a consortium of Arabian Trading Consulting Company and South Korea's Hanhwa Energy Corporation as well as a consortium of Urbansolar SAS and BUTEC S.A.L., among others.

"This project is the first of its kind in the region," the minister noted.

Jordan was classified the 3rd country in the Arab world in renewable energy capacity, according to an infographic on the state of sustainable energy capacities in the region recently issued by the Friedrich Ebert Foundation (FES).

Hamzeh Bany Yasin, climate and energy policy programme manager at the FES, stressed the importance of the project to the Kingdom, labelling it as a leading project in the region.

"This project will help increase the overall contribution of renewable energy to the overall energy mix," he told The Jordan Times on Tuesday.

"This project will also help pave the way for more renewable energy projects as there will be a capability to store the electricity generated by renewable projects," he added.

Jordan, which imports about 97 per cent of its energy needs annually at about 18 per cent of the gross domestic product, is implementing an energy strategy to boost renewable energy contribution to the overall energy mix from 3 per cent to 10 per cent by 2020.

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