Jordan, Israel, UAE set to sign ‘energy-for-water’ mega project — Axios

2. Energy-for-Water
An undated photo of a solar farm in Jordan. (Photo: Shams Maan’s Facebook page)
AMMAN — Ministers from Jordan, Israel, and the UAE are expected to sign an energy-for-water mega deal on Monday in Dubai; one that has been in the works for years, according to an Axios report. The project has been pushed by US Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry and aims to build a massive solar farm in the Jordanian desert that will generate clean energy to be sold to Israel in return for desalinated water.اضافة اعلان

The agreement states that Jordan and Israel will help each other deal with the challenges of climate change. Jordan has been witnessing acute drinking and irrigation water shortage due to poor rainy seasons, with half of its 14 dams reportedly completely dry. The UAE will finance the solar farm that will provide clean energy to Israel, which in turn will build a desalination plant on the Mediterranean coast to provide water to Jordan.

According to Axios the solar farm will be built by Masdar, a UAE government-owned alternative energy company. The plans call for the solar farm to be operational by 2026 and produce 2 percent of Israel's energy by 2030, with Israel paying $180 million per year to be divided between the Jordanian government and the Emirati company.

If carried out it will be the biggest regional cooperation project ever undertaken between Israel and Jordan since signing the peace treaty more than 25 years ago. In 2014, Jordan and Israel signed a $10 billion, 15-year deal, to buy Israeli natural gas. Israel began supplying natural gas to Jordan last year. Also due to water shortage Jordan bought 100 million cubic meters of water from Israel this year in addition to the 55 million cubic meters that it gets under the 1994 peace treaty. Jordan needs an estimated 1.3 billion cubic meters of water annually for various uses.

Strategic relations between Jordan and Israel have improved significantly since Naftali Bennett replaced Benjamin Netanyahu as Israel’s prime minister, according to Axios.

The idea for the project was first proposed by EcoPeace Middle East, an NGO that brings together Jordanian, Palestinian, and Israeli environmentalists whose objective is the promotion of cooperation to protect environmental heritage. Head of the Amman office, Yana Abu Taleb, told Jordan News that the organization had shared a prefeasibility study of the project in 2017 with the concerned governments and other relevant stakeholders, but was not party to intergovernmental negotiations. She added that tensions between Jordan and Israel with the former Israeli government had put the project on hold.  

The reasoning behind the proposed project was that Israel needs renewable energy but lacks the land for massive solar farms, which Jordan has. Meanwhile, Jordan needs water but can only build desalination plants in the remote southern part of the country, while Israel's coastline is closer to Jordan’s major population centers.

Jordan News tried to get confirmation from government sources, including the ministries of water, energy, and foreign affairs but none had any information on the project.

Read more National News