UAE's Masdar to invest $300 mln in Jordan solar project

ABU DHABI, Jan 19 (Reuters) - Abu Dhabi green energy firm Masdar is investing around $300 million in a solar power project in Jordan, with more investments planned across the Middle East and North Africa, its chief executive told Reuters on Tuesday.

The company aims to double its total generating capacity in the next five to ten years, Ahmad Belhoul said.

Masdar, wholly owned by Abu Dhabi investment fund Mubadala . plans to build a 200 megawatt (MW) solar project in Jordan, its second renewables project in that country.

“We signed the agreement today and expect financial close in the fourth quarter of 2016,” Belhoul said. Masdar began operating an onshore wind farm in Jordan last month.

Masdar, which has invested $1.7 billion so far in renewable energy projects since it was established a decade ago, is looking at opportunities across many countries in the Middle East and North Africa, Belhoul said.

“If the business case and regulations are strong, we will be there. Expect us to invest more going forward,” Belhoul said.

Masdar’s current capacity stands at 1,000 MW with a further 500 MW under construction. “We would like to double our capacity in the next five to ten years - that is our target,” Belhoul said, citing falling costs and a global emphasis on renewables.

“Prices of solar photovoltaic are down by 60 to 70 percent in the last six years, prices of wind power projects have also dropped. And with changing government policies, the economic case for renewables is clear.”

Asked if Masdar might pull back from its investments in Britain because of its strong focus on the Middle East and North Africa, Belhoul said that since Masdar was still in growth mode, “no decision is made right now.” (Editing by Andrew Torchia and Mark Potter)