(MENAFN- Jordan News Agency)
Amman, Feb 25 (Petra) -- The Baynouna Solar Park was inaugurated on Saturday during a ceremony led by prime Minister Bisher Khasawneh and attended by United Arab Emirates Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber.
The 200-megawatt (MW) station, the largest clean energy project in Jordan, was carried out by Baynouna Solar Energy Company (BSCE), a joint venture between the UAE's world-leading renewable energy company, Masdar, and Finnish investment and asset management group Taaleri.
In remarks during the inauguration ceremony, Khasawneh noted the brotherly relations and close cooperation between Jordan and the UAE, adding that the project is the product of 'the historical strategic relationship between the two countries.'
He commended the efforts of the UAE and its leadership in dealing with the challenge of climate change, noting the Emirates' hosting and chairmanship of the Climate Summit (COP 28), adding that Jordan fully supports the global event, which will make a huge difference in that field.
For his part, Al Jaber, COP28 President-Designate, and Chairman of Masdar, said that the Baynouna Solar Park, in partnership with the Jordanian government, will contribute to the Kingdom's climate targets, provide access to clean energy, create jobs and ensure economic growth.
'Along with our other project here – the Tafila Wind Farm – Masdar is already helping Jordan to produce 29 percent of its electricity from renewable sources and will support its goal of increasing that to 50 percent by the end of the decade,' he said.
'Ambitious, transformative partnerships like these are precisely what we need if we are to deliver on the promise of the Paris Agreement and continue to ensure that we are holding back emissions, not progress,' he pointed out.
'COP28 will focus on moving from goals to implementation, with a clear focus on demonstrable action on mitigation, adaptation, loss and damage, and finance, as we aim to keep the objective of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees alive,' the UAE minister said.
Minister of Energy and Mineral Resources Saleh Kharabsheh said that under the directive of His Majesty King Abdullah II to make Jordan a regional center for green development, the Ministry is focused on developing local energy sources to achieve energy security, enhance self-reliance and limit the effects of climate change.
'If we look at the world today, we see that renewable energy, especially solar and wind energy, are the fastest growing and widespread renewable energy sources and the time has come to maximize the benefits of renewables,' Kharabsheh said.
Developed through a power purchase agreement between Masdar and National Electric Power Company, Jordan's state electricity provider, the Baynouna Solar Park produces over 560 gigawatt-hours (GWh) of energy annually – enough to power 160,000 homes.
The plant also displaces 360,000 tons of carbon dioxide per year, equivalent to taking nearly 80,000 cars off the road.
UAE ambassador to Jordan Sheikh Khalifa Bin Mohammed Bin Khalid Al Nahyan said: 'This inauguration is a landmark moment in the history of our two nations and will serve to strengthen the already powerful relationship between us. The UAE is committed to helping our brother nations in the region achieve their clean energy objectives and we stand ready to share our expertise further with the Government and people of Jordan and to help deliver sustainable economic development.'
'We are proud to witness the inauguration of this project, which is one of the fruits of Masdar's long collaborative partnership with Jordan, said Mohamed Jameel Al Ramahi, Chief Executive Officer of Masdar.
He thanked partners including the government, the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources, the National Electric Power Company of Jordan, and the financial institutions 'that helped to make this project possible'.
'We stand ready to support Jordan in its energy transition and will look to increase our presence in the Kingdom through the development of further clean energy projects that will drive economic growth for the nation,' he pledged.
Financial institutions that supported the Baynouna project include the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the OPEC Fund for International Development (OFID), the KfW Group's DEG, and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).
Peter Ramsay, Chief Executive Officer of Taaleri Group, said: 'We are very excited to be inaugurating the largest solar park in Jordan. This impressive project is a testament to the strength of cooperation between Masdar and Taaleri, two pioneers who have been active in the renewable energy field for a long time. We are proud to advance our common global climate change mitigation goals together with our partners and investors.'
Masdar also operates the 117 MW Tafila Wind Farm, which was completed in 2015 – the first commercial utility-scale wind project in the Middle East.
In November 2022, Masdar signed a memorandum of understanding with the Jordanian Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources to explore the development of a further 2 gigawatts (GW) of renewable energy projects in the country.
The energy transition is a central component of the UAE's priorities as it prepares to host the 28th Conference of the Parties to the Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP28) in November-December.
The Conference, the largest annual gathering of policymakers and practitioners focused on climate change and sustainability, will see well over 70,000 officials from across the public and private sectors gather at Expo City in Dubai.