Israel, Jordan sign deal to swap solar power for water

Ministers were joined at the signing ceremony by John Kerry, the US special presidential envoy for climate. Image: Israel Ministry of Energy.

Israel and Jordan are set to swap solar power for desalinated water after the two countries signed a declaration of intent earlier this week.

The agreement will see Jordan build solar PV plants with a total capacity of 600MW that will export output to neighbouring Israel, with feasibility studies due to start next year.

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Israel, meanwhile, will provide up to 200 million cubic meters of desalinated water to Jordan, which is the second most water-scarce country in the world, according to the UN.

Signing the US-brokered agreement at an event in the United Arab Emirates, ministers from Israel and Jordan were joined by John Kerry, the US special presidential envoy for climate, who said the initiative is a welcome example of how cooperation can accelerate the energy transition.

“The Middle East is on the frontline of the climate crisis. Only by working together can countries in the region rise to the scale of the challenge,” Kerry said.

Israel is aiming to have a 16GW solar fleet by 2030 as it looks to reach net zero emissions in the energy sector by 2050.

An auction held by Israel late last year awarded 609MW of solar PV alongside 2.4GWh of energy storage, while additional renewables projects could be brought forward in the country through a new collaboration between French utility EDF and Abu Dhabi-based developer Masdar.

Israel’s energy minister, Karine Elharrar, said the declaration of intent with Jordan will send a strong message around the world about how nations can work together to tackle the climate crisis. 

“Jordan has an abundance of territory and sunshine which is perfect for solar panel fields, good for energy solutions and storage, and Israel has desalinisation plants that can help Jordan with its water scarcity,” she said.

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