Wind energy resource assessment kicks off in Oman

A wind resource assessment (WRA) programme which is key to evaluating the feasibility of a wind power project at a given location has commenced, according to an official of Oman Power and Water Procurement Company (OPWP), a Member of Nama Group. Brian Wood, Senior Adviser at the state-owned utility, said a contract for the WRA project has been awarded and is currently under implementation. It entails the installation of tall masts, fitted with wind measuring instruments, at locations identified for the establishment of large-scale wind power projects.

We have just started our wind resource assessment, and as part of this effort we are setting up wind masts to measure wind over, say, a period of one year, at sites where we expect to develop wind farm projects. As a start, there are two locations one in Jaalan Bani Bu Ali in North Al Sharqiyah Governorate, and the other is in Duqm. At these sites, we have plots for wind power projects, but to make the project bankable when we put them out to tender, we need to have wind data for those sites. So there is a lot of instrumentation on the masts to generate the data necessary for bidders to make a good bid for the projects, Wood explained.

The official made the announcement in a presentation at the Oman Sustainable Energy and Technology Summit held in the city recently. The two-day event had been organised by White Paper Summits. The Sultanate has excellent potential for wind energy development with wind speeds as high as 8 10 metres/second at numerous onshore sites, even during the summer months. Offshore development also may have large potential, according to the official. Omans first utility-scale wind farm a 50 MW facility built at Harweel in Dhofar Governorate achieved commercial operation last month. The farm is operated under a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) reached between OPWP and the Rural Areas Electricity Company (Tanweer).

The next big commercial-scale wind project a 100 MW capacity farm is anticipated to be developed in Jaalan Bani Bu Ali during 2024. It will be the first wind power project within the Main Interconnected System (MIS) the grid that covers much of the northern half of the Sultanate. A planned interconnection between the MIS and Duqm, the site of a mega industrial and economic free zone, will enable the development of wind farms that capitalise on the huge wind potential of the hinterland of Al Wusta Governorate. Onward interconnectivity with the Dhofar Power System in the south of the country will also open up Thamrait and other parts of Dhofar to investments in new wind power capacity, according to OPWP.