Engineering consultancy OST has signed a four-year contract to provide Environmental & Social monitoring (E&S) support at the 86 MW Al Rajef Wind Farm project in Jordan.
OST will monitor the project’s impact on the surrounding environment and local communities throughout the construction and early operation of the wind farm, which is currently under development. The company signed the contract with developer Alcazar Energy. It’s E&S monitoring of the project will be carried out on behalf of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), Proparco – the subsidiary of Agence Française de Développement (AFD) devoted to private-sector funding - and DEG, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Germany’s KfW Group.
Jordan is one of the most promising markets in the Middle East for renewable energy development, thanks to a drive to replace fossil fuel imports with cost-effective domestic energy generation, plentiful wind and solar resources and a growing track record of attracting international investment.
A government Feed-in Tariff (FiT) programme for renewable energy projects was introduced in 2011 and the Al Rajef project in Ma’an governorate will be one of the first wind projects developed under the Round 1 of the scheme, significantly enhancing the nation’s installed wind energy capacity.
The wind farm is a flagship project that will demonstrate the financial value of wind energy to project stakeholders and investors and illustrate the macroeconomic social and environmental benefits of renewable energy.
OST has been appointed on behalf of the project lenders to monitor ongoing compliance with environmental and social requirements in the Environmental and Social Action Plan. This will ensure that impacts on the surrounding environment and its wildlife, such as local bird and bat populations, continue to be appropriately mitigated. It will also ensure that the project developer fulfils its responsibilities to the local community, limiting impacts on vulnerable social groups and providing economic opportunities by sourcing labour, materials and equipment locally where possible.
OST, which has considerable experience in helping renewable energy developers improve the sustainability of their projects to meet lenders’ requirements, will assess the progress of the project in hitting its E&S targets, via regular site visits and performance reports. The company has provided E&S support on 3 GW of wind and solar projects globally
“In many ways, Jordan is setting the standard for the wider Middle East when it comes to renewable energy development” said Mark Grundy, Director of Environment & Sustainability at OST Energy. “The developers and lenders responsible for building the first wind and solar sites in the country have taken a long-term outlook, making a clear commitment to deliver projects that not only promise steady returns for investors, but also impact positively on local communities and the surrounding environment. OST aims to set benchmarks for the sustainable management of new renewable energy installations like Al Rajef in emerging markets worldwide.”
Daniel Lancha, Director of Delivery and Operations, Alcazar Energy, added that OST’s international environmental and social expertise played a key role in their appointment as the lenders’ E&S advisor.