The Oman Power and Water Procurement Company (OPWP), the sole procurer and offtaker of electricity and water capacity in the Sultanate of Oman, has initiated the procurement process for a second large-scale solar photovoltaic (PV) project at Ibri in the northwest of the country.
The new Ibri III Solar Independent Power Project (IPP) is sized at 500 MW of solar PV capacity, similar to the Ibri II Solar IPP that was formally launched in the same area – Al Dhahirah Governorate – in January this year.
Ahead of the launch of the competitive procurement process for the new solar PV project, OPWP has invited qualified consultants to bid for its contract to provide Technical Consultancy Services for the development of Ibri III Solar IPP. The targeted Scheduled Commercial Operation Date for the new project is the fourth quarter of 2026.
Significantly, the move comes as OPWP, a member of Nama Group, currently evaluates bids for its biggest renewable energy project – the estimated 1.2GW solar PV scheme planned in the Wilayat of Manah in Al Dakhiliyah Governorate. Three international developers are in contention for the mega development, which will be implemented as two separate projects each of 500 – 600 MW located side by side. Final submissions were received on October 3, 2022 after multiple extensions of the submission date.
On January 22 this year, Ibri-II Solar IPP – the nation’s first utility-scale, grid connected solar power project – was formally inaugurated at Ibri. It was built with an investment of around RO 155 million by Shams Ad-Dhahira Generating Company (SDGC), representing a consortium of Saudi-based power developer ACWA Power (50 per cent), Gulf Investment Corporation (GIC) – a Kuwait-based investment firm equally owned by the six GCC states (40 per cent), and Kuwait-based Alternative Energy Projects Co (AEPC) – 10 per cent.
At the heart of the facility is a sprawling solar farm with an estimated 1 million solar panels spread over an area of around 13 million square metres. At peak generation capacity, the plant will produce an estimated 1,600 gigawatt-hours (GWh) of carbon-free electricity to power an estimated 33,000 homes, while also offsetting 340,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions a year.
Oman’s grid-connected renewable energy capacity is projected to grow to 3,350 MW by 2027, up from around 550 MW presently. State-run OPWP has outlined plans to procure new solar and wind projects at key locations around the country, including a Concentrated Solar Plant (CSP) potentially at Duqm in Al Wusta Governorate. The country’s National Energy Strategy envisions a 20 per cent share from renewables in overall electricity generation capacity by 2030, rising to 39 per cent by 2040.
Separately, energy companies Petroleum Development Oman (PDO) and OQ Group are pursuing their own renewables-based schemes to support their respective decarbonisation strategies.