Israel advances water-for-energy deal with Jordan, UAE

Al-Jazeera  /  September 26, 2023

A tripartite agreement is expected to be signed at the COP28 conference in Dubai in November.

Israel’s energy minister and the chief executive of UAE’s renewable energy firm Masdar have met to advance a water-for-energy deal with Jordan, according to the Israeli energy ministry.

The aim of the meeting on Tuesday was to advance the projects before an expected signing at the annual UN climate conference COP28 to be held in Dubai in November, the ministry said in a statement.

The statement did not specify where the meeting was held, but said it came on the heels of the “successful ministerial meeting” that took place in Abu Dhabi last month in the presence of Israel’s energy minister, as well as a visit by Masdar’s representatives to Israel earlier this month.

Under the proposed agreement, Jordan will supply solar energy from a UAE-funded plant to Israel and receive desalinated water from Israel in return.

The Times of Israel reported that political and commercial agreements will have to be signed after the agreement is sealed.

In June, Israeli Energy Minister Israel Katz discussed the projects with the US Special Presidential Envoy for Climate Affairs John Kerry.

He presented a plan to build a 600MW capacity solar plant with storage in Jordan, and for Israel to export 200 million cubic metres of desalinated water per year to its neighbour, the energy ministry said at the time.

The projects are known respectively as Prosperity Green and Prosperity Blue.

The agreement aims to address Jordan’s need for water and Israel’s aim to grow its clean energy mix. Jordan is the country’s second-most water-scarce country in the world, according to UNICEF.

The UAE became only the third Arab nation, after Egypt (1979) and Jordan (1994), to establish diplomatic relations with Israel, ending a 25-year period without such ties.