Chinese energy enterprise funds renewables in Middle East

Reading time: 3 minutes
12 June 2015

LONDON: Jordan in the Middle East is about to expand its power grid thanks to a US$310 million grant by Chinese energy enterprise Hanergy, which will increase the country’s renewable energy production by 1GW with new wind and solar projects.

Despite limited transmission capacity which forced Jordan to cancel plans for new wind and solar farms twice last year, the country is continuing long-standing efforts to increase the capacity of its power grid.

These new funds from Chinese firm Hanergy, a member of The Climate Group which produces thin-film solar technology, mean Jordan will now be able to meet its goal of increasing renewable energy capacity to 40% (1.8 GW) by 2020.

The country has been moving to cleaner energy since 2005, when it began to remove subsidies to fossil fuels and created the Jordan Renewable Energy and Efficiency Fund, which is partly financed by international organizations like the World Bank.

Driven by rising energy demand and rocky fossil fuel costs, other countries in the Middle East have also started eyeing clean energies. A report by The Climate Group released earlier this year even states the region has huge potential to become a ‘hub’ for the development of the global green economy. 

Earlier this year, a separate report commissioned by the National Bank of Abu Dhabi showed the future of energy in the Middle East is firmly in the renewable sector, which is already cheaper and more reliable than oil.

Eduardo Goncalves, a director and key spokesperson on the Middle East countries for The Climate Group commented: “As Sheikh Ahmed Zaki Yamani, former oil minister of Saudi Arabia predicted, we are now looking at the ‘end of an oil age’. And like Saudi Arabia, other oil-producing states and regions also see clearly that the clean economy is where the smart business is.

“The Middle East is fast becoming a major hub for the global clean economy, and the latest developments are proving that renewables are the common sense direction for the region’s energy markets.”

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by Denise Puca

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