Oman’s Public Authority for Electricity and Water (PAEW), which is overseeing the formulation of a national strategy for renewable energy development in the Sultanate, has identified 15 sites deemed optimal for wind power projects, according to a report.
The mapping of sites is a key to the Oman Wind Atlas Project, an initiative launched by the authority to encourage investment in wind-based renewable energy schemes in the Sultanate, said the Oman Daily Observer report.
The authority plans to erect wind masts at key locations to gather bankable wind data, a prerequisite for the commerical exploitation of this resource, it said.
“The aim is to identify and rank the best sites based not only on modelling and satellite data but also on the ground characteristics. To this end, we will install wind masts at 80 metres above ground at the best sites in order to collect bankable data,” Khalil Al Zidi, senior engineer — Renewable Energy, PAEW, was quoted as saying.
The project, which is a part of a string of feasibility study and pilot initiatives launched by PAEW over the last several years, has made significant headway since it was rolled out a couple of years ago, he said.
The first stage of the study, focusing on the identification and ranking of the best sites for wind farms, was scheduled for completion by around the middle of this year.
The focus has since shifted to stage two of the study: the installation of 80-metre-high wind masts equipped with data measuring equipment, said the report.
“To record such data, specialised instrumentation is required. Of course, the Public Authority for Civil Aviation has weather stations, but these are not designed or suitable for gathering bankable data. For example, to study the feasibility of wind power farms, it is necessary to install measuring systems at a height of 80 metres above ground, (which will be addressed when the wind masts are installed),” Al Zidi was quoted as saying.
Other barriers to renewable energy development in the Sultanate include the high capital costs of equipment and systems relative to conventional energy; subsidies — direct and indirect — on electricity; and the absence of a policy framework and target for adding renewables to the energy mix in the Sultanate, he added.