Jordan has initiated the second round of its unsolicited proposals scheme that permits developers to submit renewable energy project proposals directly to the government.
The Kingdom’s Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources, or MEMR, is seeking expressions of interest from qualified investors interested in developing renewable energy projects on a build, own and operate basis. The deadline to submit an electronic and hard copy response is October 31, 2013.
The first round of unsolicited proposals extended to an array of renewable energy sources such as wind, solar, waste and geothermal, but this round is restricted to wind and solar.
MEMR launched the first round of unsolicited proposals in May 2011. Thirty-four applications including 12 wind projects, 15 solar photovoltaic projects, two concentrating solar photovoltaic projects and five solar thermal projects initially qualified. However, only two wind projects and 12 solar photovoltaic projects were eventually approved. The aggregate capacity of the two wind projects is approximately 200 megawatts, and the aggregate capacity of the 12 solar photovoltaic projects is also around 200 megawatts. In May 2013, MEMR received proposals for each of the approved projects. Formal project awards are still pending, and MEMR is currently hosting clarification meetings with a number of bidders.
The launch of the second round prior to the completion of the first round has surprised the market, although this is consistent with Jordan’s aim to reduce its dependence on imported energy — 97% of the energy it used in 2011 was imported — and increase the share of renewable energy contributions from 1% in 2011 to 10% by 2020.
The near finalization of the first round combined with the launch of the second round positions Jordan as the Middle East’s most active and arguably advanced renewable energy market.
International renewable energy developers should view Jordan as a place to plant a flag in the Middle East and eventually as a stepping stone toward other high potential, but currently less active, regional markets, including Saudi Arabia with its colossal program to procure 54,000 megawatts of renewable energy facilities by 2032.
Amidst the high hopes and hype surrounding the Middle East’s apparent drive towards renewable energy, and solar power particularly, the reality is that the pace of deploying commercial procurements has been sluggish. Very few renewable energy tenders have recently come to market.
At present, the key Middle Eastern renewable energy markets are Jordan, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait and, with some reserve, Qatar.