Wind power in Oman: first large-scale wind farm to start operations in 2020

Oman’s first large-scale commercial wind-based renewable energy project is getting delayed and will start operations in 2020.

“The project has been tendered, but is currently on hold and awaiting approval. The wind farm, which is expected to be comprised of around 25 wind turbines will be located near Harweel,” according to the seven-year outlook for the power and water sector released by the Oman Power and Water Procurement Company (OPWP).

The wind farm, which is being developed by the state-owned Rural Areas Electricity Company (Raeco) in partnership with Abu Dhabi’s Masdar, is expected to generate 50 megawatt electricity from its planned farm at Harweel in Dhofar, the seven-year outlook stated.

The project will be operated under a power purchase agreement (PPA) with OPWP.

Considering the potential intermittency of this resource, it is not currently considered as firm capacity. “This position may be altered with experience of the project’s electricity output.”

According to earlier reports, the proposed wind farm will come up in a total area of 200,000 square metres and the power capacity of the plant will be sufficient for about 50 per cent of consumption in the Dhofar region during winter season. The plant will help reduce Oman’s reliance on fossil fuels and meet the country’s increasing energy demand.

OPWP expects to have renewable sources of energy, especially solar and wind projects, contributing to the power system in the near future. Due to their intermittent, non-dispatchable nature, they currently fall under the non-firm resource category.

However, once operational, their performance may demonstrate a contribution to peak capacity requirements that would justify a capacity credit.

The Oman government has been encouraging investment in renewable energy since it will contribute immensely to reducing the use of traditional fossil fuels for generating electricity.

Thus, the country can divert these precious resources for other industries, which will add value and generate employment opportunities. It will also contribute to the government’s plan to reduce subsidies, which have been surging year after year.

The availability of domestic gas for future power plants is uncertain in the context of competing gas needs for economic development. OPWP is developing plans in 2017 for a more rapid transition to power supply from solar plants, wind farms, and coal-fired generation, to support the government’s decision-making for the next generation of power capacity development. OPWP plans to procure Oman’s first large-scale solar independent power project in 2017.

Technical advisors have been engaged to develop tender documents and an appropriate evaluation methodology that assures a cost-effective project without subsidy. OPWP expects to issue the request for a proposal in the fourth quarter of 2017, for capacity of at least 200 megawatt, to be operational by 2020.