Move to make Sultanate electric car-friendly

In a landmark development, the Authority for Electricity Regulation Oman (AER) has announced plans to develop the technical and regulatory groundwork necessary to enable the introduction and growth in the usage of electric vehicles (EV) in the Sultanate. The move, according to a top official, is in keeping with the government’s broader strategy to support a transition to sustainable energy sources, not only for electricity generation, but other usages as well. As a first step, the authority aims to carry out a review of international best practice pertaining to a regulatory framework to support the introduction of electric vehicles in Oman, said Qais al Zakwani, Executive Director.

“Our goal is to put in place the required regulations, and the required standards for the infrastructure that will be necessary to facilitate the growth of this industry in Oman,” he said. The review, the official explained, will look into potential capital costs from development of public EV recharge stations, network and connection issues, safety issues, metering costs and the required licence and Code modifications required in relation to Distribution Network Operator responsibilities.

The announcement came at a briefing hosted by the regulator to present its ‘Forward Work Programme’ for the year.
It features a substantive agenda that includes plans for, among other things, the development of a competitive market, deployment of residential PV (Sahim initiative), establishment of an ESCos market, a waste-to-energy project, assessment of Cost Reflective Tariffs, and enforcement of cyber security standards.
The rapid embrace of electric vehicles elsewhere around the world, coupled with the pace of technological advancements in this sector, was behind the authority’s decision to initiate the groundwork for the eventual rollout of this eco-friendly mode of transportation in Oman, the executive director noted. “We have been faced with a number of requests with regard to electric vehicles, and this coincides with our overall goal of promoting sustainability of energy use — whether with regard to electricity use, transportation, or renewables development,” Al Zakwani said.
“We want to see what we can do to facilitate the deployment of electric vehicles in Oman in a safe and efficient manner within the electricity sector. This may possibly require changes to the way we plan our networks, the way we license the entities setting up charging stations, and so on. So a number of facets need to be looked at,” he added.
A strategy for developing the required regulations, standards and other requirements is due to be unveiled by the third quarter of this year.

Conrad Prabhu