The FINANCIAL — The European Union (EU) and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) are joining Jordan’s effort to extend the use of sustainable and innovative renewable energy technology by providing finance, grants and technical cooperation for two projects in the solid waste management and water supply sectors.
These improvements to local municipal services will strengthen the country’s ability to cope with the increased population, which now includes 1.3 million refugees from Syria. Both projects are part of the EU’s €90 million renewable energy and energy efficiency programme in Jordan, according to EBRD.
The EU is providing a €30 million grant to help the Water Authority of Jordan construct a photovoltaic system to power three to five water pumping stations across the country. The EBRD will manage the grant funds and supervise the implementation of the project.
Rapid population growth and the climatic conditions of the country have put significant pressure on the country’s limited water resources and created severe shortages. The increased demand for water and wastewater resources also brings higher demand for electricity, which represents up to 60 per cent of operating costs for water services.
Through the use of solar power for water and wastewater facilities, the project is expected to set a precedent for the use of sustainable renewable energy technology in the sector. The project also aims to develop market structures to enhance private sector participation by focusing, where feasible, on the introduction of engineering, procurement and construction, and operations and maintenance contracts
In addition, the EBRD is extending a loan of up to €7.5 million to the Greater Amman Municipality (GAM), while the EU Delegation in Jordan is contributing €5 million in grants to help build a waste-to-energy plant in the Al-Shaer solid waste transfer station. The plant is expected to produce up to 9 million cubic metres of biogas per year from food waste, recycling approximately 11 per cent of the organic waste collected. The plant’s yearly capacity for energy generation, estimated at up to 25,000 MWh, would be enough to power 8,000 Jordanian households. The EBRD is also expected to mobilise from other international donors an additional €2.5 million in grants for the investments as well additional donor funds for technical assistance to support the project implementation.
The population growth in Amman has placed an unprecedented burden on the solid waste management services provided by GAM, which were already under strain. In recent years, the Al-Shaer waste transfer station, the only operational station serving the capital, has seen a 40 per cent increase in the solid waste it processes and the plant currently operates at a level greatly exceeding its design capacity. The project will help ease the burden placed on this facility.
The EBRD loan is part of a financing programme worth €102 million, recently signed to support GAM’s investment plan. It addresses the most pressing infrastructure needs with regard to solid waste.
Andrea Matteo Fontana, EU Ambassador to Jordan said: “Today, the EU is a key partner for Jordan in developing green energy sources with more than €150 million, and we are proud to announce that we have exceeded our 2020 green energy targets for Europe. We are therefore happy to use our experience to support Jordan in achieving their green energy targets.”
Heike Harmgart, Head of the EBRD Resident Office in Jordan, said: “The EBRD is committed to helping Jordan upgrade its municipal infrastructure services to improve the daily lives of Jordanians and refugee communities alike. The Bank promotes the adoption of renewable technology for a more sustainable use of scarce resources. This work can become a model for other projects in the Jordanian municipal sector.”
Jordan became an EBRD shareholder in 2012 and to date the Bank has committed US$ 775 million across 33 projects in various sectors of the economy, in addition to US$ 120 million of trade facilitation credit lines with local banks.