Oman’s first solar power plant to start operation in May

Oman’s first commercial renewable power project is set to go operational by May at Al Mazyunah in Dhofar, according to a report.

The 303kW solar power plant, executed by US-based Astonfield and local firm Multitech, will be the first such commercial venture linked to the electricity network, said the Oman Tribune report.

The technology used in the project includes PV thin films and polycrystalline system and is spread over 8,000 sq m, it said.

The plant aims at keeping with the Sultanate’s plans to exploit solar and wind energy and reduce dependence on fossil fuels for power generation. The target is to generate 25 per cent of its energy needs from renewable sources.

Meanwhile, work on a 50-megawatt wind-based power plant in Dhofar would begin in June and will be completed by next year, said the report.

It will be Oman’s first wind energy power project and estimated to cost $200 million. Located at Harweel over 200,000 sq m, the project will be implemented by Abu Dhabi Future Energy Co (Masdar).

Rural Areas Electricity Company (Raeco) will invest RO153 million ($395.7 million) during the 2015-17 period to increase power generation capacity and improve the transmission and distribution network, its chief executive officer Hamad Bin Salim Al Maghdari was quoted as saying.

Eight diesel power plants were identified for conversion to gas fired plants provided gas is available, he added.

The coming three years will see more demand from sectors like industry, trade and tourism, which will mark a switch in demand pattern, as about 48 per cent of their demand came from residential consumption, said the report.

“The economy is booming and without electricity we cannot run hotels, industry and there can be no tourism,” Al Maghdari said.

The demand from industry which stood at six per cent of total demand witnessed a 233 per cent growth, which demand from agriculture and fisheries went up by 20 per cent, residential sector 18 per cent and hotel and tourism 12 per cent, said the report.

Raeco currently has capacity for 282 MW of electricity and 2.2MIGD of desalinated water and has over 25,000 customers in rural areas, it added.