Israel and Jordan Pen Historic Water-for-energy Deal

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King Abdullah II in June
King Abdullah II in JuneCredit: Ahmad al-Rubaye / AFP

Israel and Jordan have reached a preliminary agreement to exchange desalinated water for renewable energy, in the first such deal between the two countries.

The countries signed a memorandum of understanding for Jordan to produce a total of 600 megawatts of renewable energy for Israel, and Israel to desalinate 200 million cubic meters of Mediterranean water for Jordan.

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Thus far, Israel has not met its goal for 2020 of having 10 percent of the country's electricity come from renewable energies. Last year, less than six percent of power generated in Israel was from renewable energies, with the number expected to approach nine percent this year. A central challenge in increasing renewable energy production is a lack of open spaces that be used as solar farms, as the Israel Lands Authority opposes the use of large areas for this purpose. 

Jordan is experiencing a severe water crisis with climate change contributing to the depletion of the country's water reserves.

It was not decided over how long the new agreement, which was signed in Dubai, would be carried out.

A solar power tower in a solar farm in the Negev desert, October.Credit: Ilan Rosenberg/Reuters

The deal was signed with the participation of Energy Minister Karine Elharrar, Jordanian Water Minister Mohammed Al-Najjar, U.S. climate envoy John Kerry, and Emirati climate envoy Sultan Al Jaber.

"All residents of the Middle East will benefit from this memorandum of understanding, not just Jordan and Israel. This is a message to the world on how countries can act together to fight the climate crisis," said Israel' Energy Minister Karine Elharrar.

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