In a three-day workshop series, the Energy Partnership, commissioned by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi), facilitated an exchange on electricity transmission system operation. Speakers and participants from grid operators in Jordan, Germany, and Belgium discussed possible future developments of the Jordanian electricity grid. Operating a secure, reliable, and efficient electricity grid is pivotal to foster a green transition – yet a growing input from renewable energy sources requires new capacities, regulatory frameworks and market adjustments. Organised by Elia Grid International (EGI), professionals exchanged their experience as well as expectations of the future of electricity in three sessions.
The European experience of integrating large quantities of volatile renewable energy sources in the grid and enabling more competition in the market cannot be transferred to Jordan one to one. However, EGI identified 7 key areas which may serve as a starting point for further analysis and policy support.
Aligning load and demand in time and space
Solar irradiation is fairly well predictable, however, it does not match the time of the current peak load. Additionally, the areas most suitable for renewables generation are far away from the demand centres. Both optimal grid expansion, as well as flexibility options to address differences in peak demand and generation will be necessary.
Enabling grid flexibility and enhancing frequency management
Jordan’s comparatively weakly interconnected electricity system creates higher technical challenges for the integration of renewable energy. Especially in the anticipation of increasing renewable energy production, new approaches are needed to perform frequency management.
Increasing interconnection development and management
A key lesson learnt in Europe, is the effectiveness of increased system exchanges with neighbouring electricity systems. Connecting to its neighbours both physically, as well as in the form of appropriate frameworks will be essential to support cost-effective integration of renewable energy.
Improving the integration of renewables in operational planning
A key challenge for the integration of renewable energy in the Jordanian electricity grid is the integration of forecasting of renewable energy generation in the system operations. In comparison to Europe, forecasts are neither automated nor as frequent and precise.
Managing unexpected declines in electricity demand
The Covid-19 pandemic led to an abrupt decline of electricity demand and subsequently to the curtailment of renewable energy sources. Rather than treating renewable energy generation as “hard to manage” and disincentivising investment, technical and regulatory changes could alleviate such events in Jordan.
Changing the perception of renewables
The workshop evidenced a degree of mistrust in renewables, which are perceived as harmful and predominantly maintained due to international pressure. To combat misconceptions, information campaigns and Jordan-specific studies on the potential of integrating renewable energy sources should be conducted.
Amending the regulatory framework
Tariff structure and metering technologies used in Jordan are unable to capture the increasing share of renewable energy sources feeding into its electricity grid. Cooperation between different agents in the grid, as well as technological enhancements such as smart meters for consumers will ease the transformation of the system.