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Oman’s decarbonisation: An energy transition

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As the world is moving towards net zero carbon, Oman is also taking steps towards the same goal. Oman has set an ambitious target of achieving net-zero carbon by 2050. This target is in line with the Paris Agreement and reflects the country’s commitment towards sustainable development.

The energy transition trends towards net-zero in Oman are visible in the various initiatives taken by the government and the private sector. For example, the government has initiated a number of renewable energy projects such as the 1 GW solar power plant in Manah and the 500 MW solar project in Ibri. These projects are aimed at increasing the share of renewable energy in the energy mix of the country. Oman has started exploring the potential of hydrogen as a clean energy source. The private sector is also taking steps towards decarbonisation, with companies such as Petroleum Development Oman (PDO) setting their own targets of achieving net-zero emissions by 2050.

Additionally, local small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) can play a significant role in achieving the net-zero goal, as they contribute significantly to Oman’s economy and can adopt best practices to move towards the goal of decarbonisation. In this regard, they can start by conducting an energy audit to identify areas where energy can be saved, and then build on that. They can invest in energy-efficient technologies such as LED lighting, solar water heaters and energy-efficient air conditioning systems. SMEs can switch to renewable energy sources such as solar or wind power. Adopting circular economy principles such as these, can help Omani SMEs reduce waste and emissions.

The Government of Oman has taken practical steps towards regulating the transition towards net-zero. For example, the Oman Environmental Services Holding Company (be'ah) launched a program to reduce carbon emissions from landfills. The initiative aims to capture methane emissions from landfills and using it to generate electricity. Furthermore, the government has introduced regulations to promote energy efficiency in buildings - requiring all new buildings to meet energy efficiency standards.

Oman is already investing heavily in research and development of renewable energy and green hydrogen, with a key example being Sultan Qaboos University’s Renewable Energy Research Centre which is working on developing new technologies for solar and wind power, and energy storage. As a result, the Omani Government launched a program to promote the use of green hydrogen as a clean energy source, involving the establishment of a hydrogen refueling station and the development of a green energy powered bus.

Beyond government initiatives, research and development in new technologies can equally be driven by the private sector. PDO for example, has set up an Energy Innovation Centre to develop new technologies in areas such as carbon capture and storage, green hydrogen production and renewable energy.

Oman's commitment towards achieving net-zero emissions by 2050 is commendable and is evident in a multitude of ways. We see clear energy transition trends towards net zero in Oman through a variety of initiatives taken by the government and the private sector alike.

The government is ramping up efforts towards net-zero through regulations and incentives and it is clearly producing highly positive results. Research and development in new technologies is one of the ways Oman can contribute to net-zero carbon emissions, an essential step towards achieving the 2050 net-zero goal. With heavy investments into areas such as renewable energy and green hydrogen, it is clear the private sector can be a driving force behind new technologies in the field. Therefore, achieving the net-zero goal in Oman will require a collaborative effort between government, the private sector and society as a whole.

Fadi al Shihabi is the ESG Services Leader at KPMG Lower Gulf

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