3 international groups bid for Ibri solar project

Muscat, Nov 18 – Three consortiums led by prominent international energy developers have submitted firm bids for the Omani government’s mandate to build the Sultanate’s first large utility scale solar photovoltaic-based Independent Power Project. According to Oman Power and Water Procurement Company (OPWP) – the sole procurer of new electricity generation and related water desalination capacity – bids have been received from the following three groups: (i) Abu Dhabi future Energy Company PJSC (Masdar), Total Solar and Jinko Power (HK) Company Limited; (ii) International Company for Water and Power Projects (ACWA Power), Gulf Investment Corporation (GIC) and Alternative Energy Projects Company; and (iii) Marubeni Corporation, Oman Gas Company (OGC), Nebras Power QPSC, and Bahwan Renewable Energy Company LLC.

“The bids received reflect the continued interest and trust in the Oman power sector which sets fairness, transparency and economic purchase as key pillars of its structure and framework,” said OPWP, member of Nama Group, in a statement. The successful bidder will receive a license to construct the Sultanate’s maiden commercial-scale, grid-connected solar project, dubbed Ibri II Solar IPP, with a capacity of 500 megawatts (MW) in the Wilayat of Ibri, identified for its high degree of solar irradiance. “The evaluation of bids is currently underway and OPWP expects to finalise the award by early next year. The project is planned to achieve commercial operation by June 2021,” the state-owned power procurement agency noted.

OPWP, supported by the Authority for Electricity Regulation Oman (AER), is spearheading Oman’s transition to clean energy based on the use of renewable and alternative energy sources, including solar, wind and municipal waste. Oman’s Council of Ministers has already stipulated a minimum 10 per cent contribution from renewables towards the country’s total generation portfolio by 2025. This translates to a requirement of over 2,600 MW of renewables-based capacity to be brought into operation over the next seven years. OPWP plans to achieve this target by procuring a raft of new solar and wind-based schemes to be established within the Main Interconnected System (MIS), as well as the Dhofar System, and in Duqm as well. OPWP plans to kick off procurement of its second Solar IPP towards the end of this year, with commercial operation anticipated in 2022. This project (dubbed Solar IPP 2022) will also have an installed capacity of 500 MW or more. It is slated to launch in Q2 2022.

Conrad Prabhu