Energy system impacts of desalination in Jordan

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Poul Alberg Østergaard
Henrik Lund
Brian Vad Mathiesen


Climate change mitigation calls for energy systems minimising end-use demands, optimising the fuel efficiency of conversion systems, increasing the use of renewable energy sources and exploiting synergies wherever possible. In parallel, global fresh water resources are strained due to amongst others population and wealth increase and competitive water uses from agriculture and industry is causing many nations to turn to desalination technologies. This article investigates a Jordanian energy scenario with two different desalination technologies; reverse osmosis (RO) driven by electricity and Multi Stage Flash (MSF) desalination driven by Cogeneration of Heat and Power (CHP). The two systems impact the energy systems in different ways due to the technologies’ particular characteristics. The systems are analyses in the energy systems analysis model EnergyPLAN to determine the impacts on energy system performance. Results indicate that RO and MSF are similar in fuel use. While there is no use of waste heat from condensing mode plants, efficiencies for CHP and MSF are not sufficiently good to results in lower fuel usage than RO. The Jordanian energy system is somewhat inflexible giving cause to Critical Excess Electricity Production (CEEP) even at relatively modest wind power penetrations. Here RO assists the energy system in decreasing CEEP – and even more if water storage is applied.

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