Jordan is to receive funding from the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) to boost investment in renewable energy, such as solar and wind power, and help it achieve energy independence.

According to the minister of Energy and Transportation, Alaa Batayneh, some $300m of a $5bn grant from the GCC has been earmarked for a series of solar and wind energy projects in southern Jordan expected to produce over 125 MW of electricity.

In a recent interview with The Jordan Times, Batayneh said the money would fund some 50-75MW of solar power and 75-100MW of wind power projects in Maan and Aqaba governorates.

The GCC aid includes $1.25bn each from Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Kuwait and Qatar, and will support development projects over a period of five years.

This funding award is the latest in a string of international assistance agreements for clean energy in Jordan, including a $112m loan secured from the World Bank in July to support the establishment of a 100MW concentrated solar power plant.

As part of its efforts to boost renewable energy’s contribution to the Kingdom’s energy mix from 1 to 10 per cent by the end of the decade, the ministry has embarked on advanced talks with 29 local and international companies to implement over 1000MW in solar and wind projects.

The drive for renewables comes as Jordan looks to ease its dependence on expensive heavy oil imports. It currently imports 97 per cent of its energy needs at a cost of nearly one-fourth its gross domestic product.

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