Oman plans to issue tender for first large scale solar IPP

Muscat - 

After years of feasibility studies and planning, Oman has decided to set up the country’s first large scale solar-based independent power project (IPP), according to a senior official of the Authority for Electricity Regulation (AER).

Speaking at the third German renewable energy conference on Monday, Eng Hilal al Ghaithi, project manager – renewable energy at AER said, “Recently a feasibility study aimed at studying the economic viability of a large scale solar IPP was carried out by the Public Authority for Electricity and Water and Oman Power and Water Procument Co that was later approved by us (AER).”

“Now they have moved to the second stage and are working with consultants for tendering process. The size of the project has not been announced yet but we are talking about something around 500MW capacity. The site also has not been finalised. We are considering a number of sites such as Al Mazyouna.”

The conference ‘Energy Solutions – Made in Germany’ was organised by the German Industry and Commerce Office (AHK) Oman at Grand Hyatt Muscat on Monday.

Ghaithi said AER is working in coordination with relevant government authorities to develop new policies and regulations that are needed to support and encourage renewable energy investment in Oman.

Revealing more about the renewable energy projects in the sultanate, he said the government recently approved a long term plan for the sector. Under the new plan, authorities are targeting to have minimum ten per cent of power generation by 2025 from renewable sources and for which various studies have been conducted.

At present, Ghaithi said, that only 8MW electricity is generated through solar energy, while another 10MW capacity is currently in the pipeline at various stages. Most of these solar energy projects are scattered throughout the country and not connected to national grid.

The conference was attended by the government officials and representatives of relevant local and foreign companies to discuss renewable energy solutions for Oman.

Nikolai Dobrott from Apricum Gmbh, a German consultancy firm engaged in renewable energy projects in the Middle East, said they believe that Oman’s total electricity generating capacity by renewable sources could rise up to 760MW by 2021.

The cost of electricity generation from photovoltaic cells have dropped significantly over the past 20 years, and now it has become very competitive, he said, adding, “Going forward, we could see number of projects being taken in Oman to harness the potential.”

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