The Sultanate of Oman is making a clean break with new gas-based power generation investments for the foreseeable future, in line with a commitment to harnessing renewables for an increasing share of the nation’s energy requirements, a top official of the Authority for Public Services Regulation (APSR) announced here on Monday.
Shaikh Dr Mansoor al Hinai (pictured), the Chairman, said the switch from gas-based generation, currently the mainstay of the nation’s power generation segment, to solar and wind resources, is broadly mandated by the Vision 2040 charter for the country’s long-term development.
“A decision has been taken that, meeting any growth in electricity demand in the new future, is from renewable sources only,” Dr Al Hinai said. “Accordingly, we are no longer floating any tenders other than for solar at this time, and we are considering wind as well. These are primarily the sources of power generation for Oman for the upcoming period, with the objective to achieve targets set out in the Vision 2040.”
Taking part in a ‘High-Level Policymakers and Senior Executives Session’ held during the start of the ISRTC Conference, which opened at the Oman Convention and Exhibition Centre (OCEC) on Monday, Dr. Al Hinai said all of the key sector stakeholders are pulling together to support the Sultanate of Oman’s transition from a predominantly fossil fuel-based energy supply to greener energy.
“The future is all about renewables for Oman from this point forward,” the Chairman noted, adding that the initiative is being supplemented by an energy efficiency drive supported by, among others, the Oman Power and Water Procurement Company (OPWP) and Oman Electricity Transmission Company – both members of Nama Group.
Importantly, APSR is also preparing to roll out regulations to support bilateral agreements and wheeling – initiatives that will spur the growth of private-led green energy supply directly to large customers. Such direct supply arrangements between the generator and the end-user – typically a large industrial consumer – sidestep OPWP, currently the Single Buyer of all electricity output before it is transmitted and distributed.
“From the regulatory perspective, there are certain enablers we are planning to put in place that will encourage different industries to move towards green energy (for their electricity requirements). We are in the process of finalising the bilateral agreements and the wheeling charges. All of these regulations will further liberalize the market and will give the opportunity for many industries to utilize green energy without putting any additional burden on the Single Buyer,” Dr. Al Hinai stated.
Furthermore, to popularise the adoption of Electric Vehicles, APSR aims to introduce guidelines before the end of this year to regulate technical specs governing the installation of EV charging stations – a key requisite for the uptake of EV cars in the Sultanate of Oman.
“We are currently working on this objective, with the help of key stakeholders, including the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Investment Promotion, Ministry of Energy and Minerals, and the Royal Oman Police as part of a multi-stakeholder task force,” he added.
Also taking part in the session were HH Sayyid Dr. Adham al Said, Assistant Professor of Economics at the College of Economics and Political Science, Sultan Qaboos University (as Moderator); Dr. Ali al Shidhani, Communications and Information Technology Under-Secretary – Ministry of Transport, Communications and Information Technology, and Eng Ahmad al Subhi, Chairman – Oman Environmental Services Holding (be’ah).