Jordan receives $250 million loan from World Bank to boost renewables

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The World Bank’s $250 million loan to Jordan "is a development policy loan, whose proceeds go to the Ministry of Finance and will not be earmarked to specific projects", Husam Beides, the World Bank’s Mashreq Department Program Leader for Sustainable Development, told pv magazine.

The policy program financed by the Development Policy Loan (DPL) will include a gradual reform of the electricity and water subsidies, so that the country’s energy mix becomes more environmentally friendly, with increased sustainable power generation and energy efficiency, said the World Bank. The DPL also aims to optimize the water use sector via better regulation.

More PV rooftops on the way

Ferid Belhaj, World Bank Director for the Middle East, said that the loan will generate a large fiscal space that "will allow the [Jordanian] government greater maneuverability to invest in pro-poor programs and inclusive economic activities to improve the population’s living standards."

This is why, although the $250 million loan is not earmarked towards specific projects, Beides pointed out that Jordan’s Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources has recently established the Jordan Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Funds (JREEF). "JREEF’s business plan," said Beides, "includes programs for the installation of solar water heaters and PV rooftops in various parts of Jordan, including disadvantaged areas."

In July, pv magazine reported that JREEF is funding a program to expand net metering for solar PV on to rural areas of Jordan. The JREEF program for rural net metering installations offers an innovative approach, and together with Jordan’s net metering regulation (in place since 2012), the country impresses with its commitment to drive rooftop PV. Universities, mosques, museums and other institutions are also rushing to install net metering systems to receive cheap energy from the sun.

Greening the energy mix

The World Bank has praised Jordan for its progress on developing renewable energy, putting it on track to achieve its target of 10% renewable energy in the overall energy mix by 2020.

The country currently imports approximately 95% of its energy needs, and a series of PV tenders and the net metering scheme have boosted solar power development.

Jordan’s energy sector, says the World Bank, aside from scarce fossil fuel power resources, has been stretched due to a sharp rise in demand caused by the influx of Syrian refugees. Last month, pv magazine reported that Jordan’s Azraq refugee camp is to be equipped with a solar PV park.

The World Bank’s $250 million loan to Jordan, Beides told pv magazine, "is an IBRD Variable Spread Loan payable over 35 years, and including a five-year grace period."