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MENAFN - Jordan Times - 22/10/2009

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(MENAFN - Jordan Times) Progress on the Kingdom's first wind power plant has been stalled in negotiations, a senior energy official said on Wednesday.

Proposals for the plant at Kamshah, near Jerash, have been rejected twice over the price of electricity tariffs quoted by the winning bidder, Greek firm Terna Energy SA, Minister of Energy and Mineral Resources Khaldoun Qteishat told The Jordan Times yesterday.

Last year, the tender for the 30-40 megawatt (MW) plant garnered interest from two international companies, a Russian firm and Terna, with whom the government entered negotiations several months ago.

The main obstacle to concluding the agreement are the high tariffs and prices quoted for electricity included in the proposal, the minister said, indicating that the prices were based on the economic situation and high oil prices when it was crafted late last year.

According to Qteishat, the ministry is close to either reaching an agreement with the company or ending negotiations, with an option to negotiate with the second bidder or reopen the tender should talks fall through.

The plant, which was to be constructed on a build-operate-transfer basis with financing provided by the World Bank, was scheduled to be operational next year as the Kingdom's first wind power plant.

Plans are also in place for an 80-90MW wind plant in Fujeij, near Wadi Musa, by 2011, and wind turbine stations at Al Harir, Maan and Wadi Araba to produce 300-400MW of electricity.

Known for its affordability and relatively quick construction period, wind power has been seen as a key part of the Kingdom's strategy for greater energy independence.

The energy strategy calls for Jordan to meet 29 per cent of its energy needs from natural gas, 14 per cent from oil shale, 10 per cent from renewable energy resources and 6 per cent from nuclear energy.

In addition to 600MW of wind and 300-600MW of solar energy, the government is looking to generate 30-50MW of biomass by 2020. With the advancements in wind power technology, the ministry has previously expressed its intention to meet its goal of 600MW of wind energy by 2015, five years ahead of schedule.

By Taylor Luck


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