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French-Korean JV wins bid for Oman’s $460m solar project in Manah

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The partnership of EDF Renewables, a global leader in clean energy development, and Korea Western Power Co Ltd (KOWEPO), a key player in South Korea’s power sector, has won an award to construct and operate a major solar PV-based Independent Power Project (IPP) in the Wilayat of Manah in the Sultanate of Oman’s Al Dakhiliyah Governorate.

The client is state-owned Oman Power and Water Procurement Company (OPWP), the sole buyer of electricity and water output, and a member of Nama Group – part of Oman Investment Authority (OIA).

The project, dubbed ‘Manah I Solar IPP’, is one of two grid-connected solar projects each of around 500 MW, that will be built side-by-side at Manah. Last week, the consortium of Singapore’s Sembcorp Industries Ltd and China-headquartered Jinko Power Technology Co Ltd, announced that it had secured the award for Manah II Solar IPP, a similar-sized venture.

Slated for launch in 2025, the twin schemes will boost Oman’s renewable energy capacity by roughly 200 per cent to around 1550 MW, up from around 550 MW presently. Oman is targeting a roughly 40 per cent contribution from renewables to its electricity requirements by 2040.

With the latest award, EDF Renewables is set to add the Sultanate of Oman to its expanding geographical footprint in the Middle East. The company – a subsidiary of French based energy giant EDF – has sizable low-carbon energy investments in the UAE and Saudi Arabia, among other countries in the region.

Consortium partner Korea Western Power Co (KOWEPO) said the Manah I award would enable the Korean utility’s maiden foray into Oman’s power industry. In a statement, KOWEPO said construction work on Manah 1 would commence in the second half of this year, with the project slated to come into operation in March 2025. Total investment in Manah I is $459 million, it stated.

"This project is an example showing the global competitiveness of domestic power generation companies in new and renewable energy," KOWEPO CEO Park Hyung-duck said. "We will continue doing our best to win additional projects such as those of solar power and green hydrogen in Middle Eastern countries and the African region."

KOWEPO will supervise the project's operations and maintenance after completion, it said, adding that OPWP will offtake electricity output from the scheme for a period of 20 years.

State-run procurer OPWP is prepping at least two more solar IPP ventures in addition to a string of wind farms to help achieve the 40 per cent target from renewables by 2040. Recently, it launched preliminary work on a 500 MW solar scheme, dubbed Ibri III Solar IPP, planned for implementation alongside Ibri II Solar IPP, which came into operation in November 2021. The latter is Oman’s first large-scale grid-connected solar power project.

Another large solar project is also envisioned at a yet-unspecified location in north Oman to serve the Main Interconnected System (MIS). Supplementing this contribution will be a series of wind power projects, ranging in capacity from 100 – 200 MW, and distributed in the South Sharqiyah, Al Wusta and Dhofar governorates.

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