Jordan took a major step forward in addressing its acute energy shortages on Wednesday with the official opening of the AlManakher power station, which was built with the support of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and the US Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC).
The sponsors of the plant are the US corporation AES and Japan's Mitsui Corporation.
King Abdullah of Jordan presided over the inauguration of the 240 MW plant at a ceremony attended by senior representatives of government and business, as well as the EBRD’s First Vice President Phil Bennett and OPIC's President Elizabeth Littlefield.
Jordan’s fast growing population, an influx of refugees and an evolving economy is driving up demand for energy. But the country still relies on imports for more than 97 per cent of the energy it consumes.
The new plant is located 15 km east of the Jordanian capital Amman and will bring new efficiency to the provision of energy. It will provide extra capacity to prevent blackouts at times of peak energy use and will secure supplies in response to rising demand.
In addition, the plant's state-of-the-art technology makes it able to respond in seconds to changes in demand. This flexibility is critical to the success of Jordan's ambitious strategy to exploit its world-class solar and wind resources, a strategy the EBRD is supporting. The Bank has financed the some of the first solar projects in the country, beginning with a US$ 25 million loan to a 20 MW solar plant in the Ma'an area, signed on 26 September 2014.
The EBRD provided a loan of US$ 100 million in 2012 towards the construction of the new Al Manakher plant, which was completed on budget and on schedule in July 2014.
Speaking at the inauguration, Phil Bennett said, “We are a long-term investor in Jordan and we are taking a long-term view of its economic requirements.