The cancellation of the third round of Jordan’s renewable energy programme is a setback for the region’s alternative energy ambitions, but one that Amman and the rest of the region can learn from, rather than be discouraged by. 

After managing to sign agreements with developers to build 12 renewable energy schemes under the first round of its direct proposal programme earlier this year, governments, utility providers and international firms looked to Jordan to see if it could deliver on its ambitious plans. However, Jordan’s Ministry of Energy & Mineral Resources has been forced to cancel the latest phase of the programme and postpone the second.

With no shortage of interest from developers, the scaling back of Jordan’s immediate renewable plans is thought to have been as a result of a lack of both human and grid capacity.

Other countries in the region planning renewable energy schemes should ensure they learn from this and do not take on more than they can deliver. To create and maintain a healthy market interest in their renewable energy projects, governments and clients need to gain the trust of developers and investors that they can deliver on their programmes.

It is also important that all efforts are invested in ensuring the initial projects are successful, with problems and early failures also likely to discourage investment.

Despite the setback, Jordan’s renewables programme has achieved several milestones that others can follow. Jordan is the first country in the Middle East, barring Iran, that has been able to establish a feed-in tariff for renewable energy projects.

The region’s governments and utilities must learn from the successes and failures of Jordan’s initial foray into the renewable energy market to ensure they can turn their renewable plans into reality.