Plans for an ambitious Waste-to-Energy project — the first of its kind in the Sultanate — are being firmed up with the Oman Power and Water Procurement Company (OPWP) — the nation’s sole procurer of all new power and related water capacity — preparing to commission a feasibility study into the landmark scheme.
The venture is based on a proposal floated by Be’ah — the Sultanate’s solid waste management flagship — which has long advocated for a number of waste-to-energy schemes as possible solutions to tackle the prodigious quantities of municipal waste ending up in landfills around Oman.
Further details about this important initiative are expected to be presented at the Oman Waste and Environmental Services Conference & Exhibition (OWES), which opens at the Sheraton Oman Hotel today. The two-day event, organised by well-known events management firm Oman Expo in partnership with Be’ah, will be formally inaugurated by Mohammed bin Salim al Tobi, Minister of Environment and Climate Affairs. Speaking ahead of the OWES event, a high-level executive of OPWP — member of Nama Group (formerly the Electricity Holding Company) — said the state-owned procurer has plans to study the feasibility of a waste-to-energy scheme based on Be’ah’s proposal. Brian Wood, Planning & Economics Director at OPWP, referenced the proposed project in the context of OPWP’s ongoing strategies to support the nation’s transition from gas-based electricity generation to renewables and other sustainable energy sources.
The comments came during a forum hosted by The Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in the Sultanate on the theme, ‘Energy Transition in Oman’, at the Crowne Plaza Muscat yesterday.
Later, in remarks to the Observer, Wood stated: “As the buyer of the output from that project, OPWP will do a feasibility study, as a first step, to evaluate the economics of the project before we approach the government for approval for the development (phase).”
Be’ah, which oversees the solid waste sector in the Sultanate, is expected to be the source of the feedstock for the waste-to-energy scheme, comprising mainly incinerable waste harvested from landfills.
As such, Be’ah will not be the operator — per se — of the proposed scheme, which if proven to be economically feasible, is expected to be procured on a long-term Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) similar to contracts underpinning existing gas based power projects, as well as the proposed solar PV utility as well, the executive explained.
A tender for the feasibility study for the waste-to-energy scheme is expected sometime early next year, Wood added.
Wholly government owned Be’ah has mooted at least four schemes to harness the energy potential of waste for generation of electricity at various locations around the country. These proposed projects envisage the utilisation of mainly municipal solid waste as fuel, but other waste streams as well. In South Al Batinah Governorate, Be’ah has proposed a waste-to-energy scheme where the energy output will be used in the desalination of seawater.
In Dhofar Governorate, the company has unveiled plans to set up a plant for the manufacture of high calorific Refused Derived Fuel (RDF), which can be used as a fuel source in cement industries or in waste-to-energy schemes.
Yet another scheme mooted by Be’ah envisions the use of waste generated as a result of Petroleum Development Oman’s oilfield operations in the production of steam for Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR) in Qarn Alam. Also on the table is a biogas recovery project planned in Barka.