Jordan’s high potential in solar and wind power as well as its proximity to Europe make it an appealing location for the production and the export of green hydrogen. In the recently published “Economic Modernization Vision”, the Jordanian government identifies the expansion of renewable energies, including new technologies such as hydrogen, as an important undertaking for the energy sector for the upcoming ten years.
Due to the current relevance of the topic, the second Jordanian-German Energy Business Council hosted four panelists from the public and private sector as well as from academia to discuss the opportunities and challenges of a green hydrogen economy in Jordan. The different perspectives of the panelists contributed to an interesting discussion and proved once again that stakeholder collaboration is vital when it comes to the implementation of new technologies.
“There is a strong need for public-private partnerships”
One of the key outcomes of the panel discussion was that the hydrogen development in Jordan requires public-private partnerships. The Jordanian government is currently leading a study focusing on the prospect of producing green hydrogen for domestic use and export. But according to the panelist from the governmental sector, formulating strategic goals and outlining a roadmap is not enough to include hydrogen into the market. For the endeavor to be fruitful it needs investors. It is therefore one of the main tasks for the Jordanian public sector to build a regulatory framework and to promote green hydrogen to attract investors.
Talking from the private sector perspective, the co-founder of a start-up that developed a technology that enables safe and compact storage of green hydrogen emphasised the need for governmental support from both countries, Germany and Jordan. He believes that if governments take financial risks for innovation, investors will follow. A study conducted by the Wuppertal Institute for Climate, Environment and Energy underlines this: Even though Jordan scored particularly well in the risk assessment from an investment perspective, as it offers a stable environment and a very well-developed renewable energy sector as well as existing or planned infrastructure links to neighboring countries, some other countries have better starting positions when it comes to how this risk transfers into cost of capital.
“We can learn from other countries what didn’t go well”
Another important outcome of the discussion was that Jordan does not need to start from scratch creating a hydrogen economy. From the research perspective it was strongly recommended that Jordan should learn from other countries what went well and should focus on building partnerships on eye-level. Besides economic interests these partnerships should focus on socio-economic factors such as job creation in Jordan. Moreover, the export opportunities for hydrogen need to be carefully designed to not put the energy transition in Jordan at risk. The representative from the governmental sector confirmed that Jordan takes international experiences into account while formulating a regulatory framework. Building on regulations and laws that follow best practice examples will benefit the private sector.
“It needs more studies and research”
Even though green hydrogen is seen as a game changer for the low-carbon transition and the panelists agreed that Jordan can learn from international experiences, it must be taken into consideration that countries have different starting positions. According to the stakeholders from the academia more research is needed, especially regarding sustainability aspects in Jordan. The question of establishing a sustainable economic value chain with regard to social and ecological factors should be at the forefront of this research. Additional sustainability aspects that require further analysis are Jordan’s water scarcity and the issue of land acquisition. The public sector benefits from results of research institutions e. g. when designing the framework for green hydrogen.