Oman to set up four new solar power pilot projects

Four solar power projects as pilot ventures have been proposed by Rural Areas Electricity Company (Raeco) in a move to efficiently utilise renewable energy, which will reduce use of fossil fuels.

These four pilot projects are planned in different parts of the country — one each in Ibri (2,000 kilowatt), Sharqiya (2,000 kilowatt), Mudhaibi (2,000 kilowatt) and Dhofar (500 kilowatt).

Presenting a paper on ‘future of renewable energy in Oman’ at the Oman Energy and Water Conference here on Wednesday, Khaleel al Mandhari, head of renewable energy at Raeco, said renewable energy projects have several advantages, including reduction in use of fossil fuel, energy supply security and reduction in pollution. Since Oman gets sun light round-the-year, the country is in a better position to tap solar energy.

“Raeco is using a lot of diesel for its power plants,” he added. The company, which has 35 diesel-fired power plants and six desalination plants, has a customer base of 30,904 customers spread across different parts of the country, including Dhofar, Musandam and Al Wusta regions.

Referring to anoter proposed wind project in Masirah, he said it will have a capacity to generate 1,600kW power. “It is in discussion stage.”

Talking about the progress of a major 50 megawatt wind farm project in Harweel in Dhofar region, he said the project is expected to generate power in the second quarter of 2017. Raeco has signed agreements with Oman government and Abu Dhabi’s Masdar to develop the project, which is coming up at 60 kms away from Thumrait in Dhofar.

The project will help prove the feasibility of wind technology for Oman and address energy sustainability issues.
“The idea is to connect the wind farm with 132kv overhead lines of Oman Electricity and Transmission Company.”

The contribution of renewable energy in total energy production is negligible in Oman and if the solar project becomes successful, there will be focus on setting up more and more solar energy projects in the coming years. It is feasible to set up solar power projects, than depending on diesel-based power due to the high price of oil in international markets.