Wind energy in Middle East – Wind power is in its infancy

The Middle East is rich in oil and gas, yet these reserves are unevenly distributed, with some countries major oil exporters and others importers. With increasing prosperity in much of the region, power demand has been growing rapidly.

A number of governments in the Middle East have developed national plans for renewable energy, but current uptake of wind power is in its infancy, with only 92 MW installed in Iran, 8 MW in Israel and 2 MW in Jordan. While less evenly distributed than solar power, the region’s wind resource is excellent in some countries such as Iran, Oman, Syria, Saudi Arabia and Jordan.

Iran is the only country in the region with any large scale wind farm installations. The country currently has two wind farm plants, with a combined capacity of 92 MW. There are plans for expanding wind turbines capacity to reach 400 MW in the coming years. Preliminary studies conducted by SUNA have shown that Iran has at least 6.5 GW of practical wind power potential. 

Jordan has a target of achieving 7% of its primary energy demand from renewables by 2015, and 10% by 2020. In 2010 Jordan introduced a Renewable Energy Law which requires the National Electric Power Company to purchase all electricity produced by independent and small-scale renewable plants at full retail price (net metering).

Syria’s target is for renewable energy to make up 4.3% of primary energy demand by 2011, and it has two wind farm plants (100 MW and 30 MW) in planning. Oman also has considerable wind energy potential, mainly in the South and in the mountains north of Salalah.