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Jordan’s bold hydrogen ambition needs quick action - By HAMZEH S. AL-ALAYANI, Jordan News



Hydrogen has a critical role to play in the global energy transition drive. While many countries are looking to capture a proportion of the market opportunity, Jordan is poised to become a leading exporter of this energy bearer.
The Kingdom has long been at the center of the global energy supply market. It brings robust experience, a solid asset base, and critical geo-political relations and partnerships that are vital to determining the future of import and export dynamics.
According to a recent study by PWC, the MENA region could produce about 200 million tonnes of green hydrogen by 2050, worth $300 billion per year, and will contribute 10–20 percent of the worldwide hydrogen market.
It appears that many regions are now aspiring to become the new hub for hydrogen. This market is steadily growing by supplying blue and grey hydrogen. Given this context, demand will increase significantly, reaching up to 580 million megatonnes by 2050.
The hydrogen markets will start scaling up as the market foundations are in place. Jordan’s national hydrogen strategy should focus on global energy insights, international experience, and natural gas-sourced blue hydrogen (through the Fajr pipeline and NPC) as a step to renewables-sourced green hydrogen.
The focus should be on blue hydrogen for export markets via ammonia shipments. Supply hubs will emerge as the market starts reaching maturity. Green hydrogen will begin making a solid preference and entrance into niche markets.
While investment in renewable energy globally exceeded $365 billion last year, combined investment in energy storage, carbon capture, and the hydrogen value chain was only $12 billion. That is not nearly enough. The energy transition will need more than $250 billion in investment over the next 30 years.
The 27th session of the Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change will take place in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt. We need to focus on practical solutions that will help solve the trilemma of securing accessible, affordable, and sustainable energy supplies.
Green hydrogen must be added to Jordan's 2020–2030 Energy Strategy, including ecosystem climate, transportation, and industrial policies, to act as a foundation for the private sector. It should help attract foreign investments and development cooperation.
It requires a collective effort based on transparency, collaboration, and innovation; interested parties can deliver on companies’ and countries decarbonization commitments, successfully deploying green hydrogen to usher in a new chapter of renewable energy transformation.
Jordan came first in the Arab world in the percentage of installed capacity of renewable energy sources and third in the total energy produced, with 29 percent. The most challenging issue is the lack of storage capacity, as the electrical capacity is approximately 6,500MW, while consumption stands at 3,500MW.
Investing in green hydrogen could help the government decrease its fossil fuel dependency, increase renewable energy penetration, and boost the resilience of local energy systems. This green strategy will support decarbonizing energy-intensive industries; this particular electricity sector was the most significant contributor to CO2 emissions in Jordan in 2018. The process will fulfill the Kingdom’s commitment to reduce GHG emissions by 14 percent by 2030.
Therefore, an integrated policy must reach market penetration and overcome initial resistance. However, there are many challenges that Jordan should address. These include the regulatory framework and other difficulties associated with implementing hydrogen applications, such as infrastructure, water scarcity, financing, and qualified human resources.
The primary driver will be a strong collaboration between the private and public sectors and a clear national green hydrogen strategy. Moreover, joint efforts with international partners, as well as subsidies and incentives given by the government, would divide the risk. Therefore, issuing a green bond signals transition efforts that reduce the risk of being bowled over by the coming tidal wave of change.
Green hydrogen must be added to Jordan’s 2020–2030 Energy Strategy, including ecosystem climate, transportation, and industrial policies, to act as a foundation for the private sector. It should help attract foreign investments and development cooperation. All this enables the commercialization of green hydrogen by creating a marketplace and reducing costs.
A long-term contract with the private sector can be essential in bringing security for investors and making the market more approachable.
Jordan must enhance the university R&D activities to gain technological leadership and training programs and sector-specific programs with international partnerships to prepare the qualified workforce to deploy the hydrogen economy across its wide value chain.
Hamzeh S. Al-Alayani is a board member of a Jordanian public-sector government investments management company and a regular commentator on regional energy and industrial matters.

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