Jordan’s first big wind farm sets the Arab country on the road to renewable energy success.
The desert road follows the route of the ancient spice caravans that converged on the Nabatean city of Petra and of the Bedouin tribesmen who rode with Lawrence of Arabia to capture the southern port of Aqaba in World War I. The mountains rise from the plain, rugged and rose-red, before they dive to the Dead Sea. Amid all this history and natural beauty, Jordan Wind Project Company has created a new feature on the landscape that could have an important role in the country’s future.
Spinning in the winds that sweep across the desert flats, the 55-metre-blades of Jordan Wind Project’s 94-metre-high turbine towers flash against the sun. “They are very beautiful structures,” says Samer Judeh, the company’s 49-year-old chairman.
The Tafila Wind Farm, which takes its name from the local governorate, started commercial operations on 16 September, after 21 months of construction and testing. In the shadow of conflict or civil unrest in neighbouring Syria, Iraq and Egypt, the USD$287 million project defied regional instability just as surely as its towers stand unbent by the desert gusts
The project’s financial backers, which include the European Union’s bank, the European Investment Bank, believe Tafila’s towers are the sentinels of a new industry that will transform the country’s economy. Jordan aims for renewable energy to contribute 10 percent of its needs by 2020. That’s vital to a country whose energy costs eat up 20 percent of its gross domestic product.
[Photo by Mario Micklisch | Flickr]