Oman to procure new solar, wind projects at yearly intervals

Driven by a commitment to ensuring a minimum 10 per cent share of power generation capacity from renewable energy (RE) resources, Oman Power and Water Procurement Company (OPWP) — the sole offtaker of electricity and water output — says it will procure new large-scale solar photovoltaic (PV) and even wind-based Independent Power Projects (IPPs) on an annual basis over the next seven years.
This ambitious transition to renewables based power generation, supplemented by clean coal and Waste-to-Energy (WTE) capacity as well, is set out in the company’s 7-Year Statement issued here yesterday. The document outlines OPWP’s blueprint for meeting power and desalinated water demand growth across the different zones of the Sultanate over the 2018-2024 timeframe.
“OPWP’s renewable energy development plan currently comprises solar, wind, and waste-to-energy (WTE) projects. OPWP plans to procure more than 2,600 MW of RE IPPs by 2025,” the state-owned procurer — a member of Nama Group said.
“We plan successive annual tenders of 500 MW, whereas the specific solar generation technology may differ among the tenders. The qualification process for the second tender will commence in Q4 2018, subject to confirmation of site access from the Ministry of Housing. Future solar tenders may be for larger installed capacity levels than 500 MW, depending on OPWP market assessments,” it stated.
According to the procurer, the majority of renewables-based projects are expected to be located in the MIS (Main Interconnected System covering the northern half of Oman) and further south around Duqm, with their main market for generation in the MIS.
Reflecting the rapid pace at which renewables-based power projects are envisioned for development in the coming years, 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) may also have installed capacity of 500 MW or more, subject to our site and market evaluations. We expect to issue the RFQ (Request for Qualifications) in Q4 2018, followed by the RFP (Request for Proposals) in Q2 2019, and award in Q4 2019, for (commercial operation) in Q2 2022,” OPWP said.
A competitive tender for Oman’s first utility-scale solar PV, dubbed ‘Ibri II Solar IPP’, is already well underway. An award for the 500 MW capacity project, which will come up in Ibri in Al Dhahirah Governorate, is expected before the end of this year, with commercial operation set for 2021.
Further, in line with its commitment to procuring new renewables based capacity at yearly intervals, the competitive process for the third in the series of solar IPP projects will commence towards the end of 2019, with commercial operation envisioned in 2023. “This project may also have installed capacity of 500 MW or more, subject to our site and market evaluations,” said OPWP.
Significantly, two wind-based IPPs are envisioned for development as part of the current 7-year capacity procurement cycle. The procurement process is expected to commence towards the end of 2019 with commercial operation targeted during 2023. “The expected locations are in Duqm and Dhofar, and their installed capacities are expected to be in the range of 150 MW to 200 MW each,” according to OPWP. Oman’s government has stipulated a 10 per cent share from renewables in the country’s total generation portfolio by 2025.