Wind energy in Oman: first wind farm to be commissioned by 2017

The contract for the 50MW Harweel wind power project in Dhofar will be awarded by Q3 this year, Khalil al Mantheri, renewable energy section head in the Rural Areas Electricity Company (RAECO) has said.



He was speaking at the Oman Energy and Water Exhibition and Conference 2015 at the Oman International Exhibition Centre on Wednesday. Mantheri said the station, which is being developed by RAECO, will be commissioned in 2017.

The windmill comprising 17-25 turbines will take advantage of Oman’s mean windspeed of 7.4m/s. Mantheri said the project will not only help create knowledge about renewable energy, but also create jobs and provide skills to workers.

“It will be key to other future projects,” he said, adding that five solar power stations will be built in the coming years in Dhahirah, Sharqiyah and Dhofar. These will be besides the 307KW industrial solar pilot project in Mazyona, which is in its operational stage. The company is also in discussions for a second windmill station, which will be built on Masirah Islands.

RAECO operates 35 power stations and six desalinisation plants in the country. “The goal of these pilot projects is to test the performance of solar and wind technologies under the local environment so that employees can gain experience regarding operation and maintenance,” he said.

“Pilot projects will also draw attention of local and international developers to the sultanate.” He said that such projects will help reduce dependence on fossil fuels and particularly diesel, which also has a high subsidy knock-on effect.

Meanwhile, The Research Council (TRC) announced that renewable energy is one of four research priorities along with road safety, insect management and a social observatory. “We need to put all of these efforts and all of these initiatives on the same track. That’s the scope of this programme,” said Dr Ahmed al Busaidi, director, strategic research programme at TRC.

The strategic programme covers cooling and air conditioning, water desalination, energy efficiency and power generation and storage. The budget for the five-year programme will be around RO7.9mn.

TRC will sponsor at least six PhD and eight MSc programmes to increase capacity building. He also announced the establishment of a renewable energy centre which will act as a hub for Omanis from different fields of renewable energy.