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Waste-to-Energy project key to Oman’s Net Zero goal

Decarbonisation role: 140MW capacity scheme to help cut carbon emissions linked to Oman’s municipal landfills by 50 million tonnes over 35 years, says be’ah
(Picture for illustration only)
(Picture for illustration only)

MUSCAT: Oman’s first-ever Waste-to-Energy (WTE) project, for which a competitive procurement process is expected to be kicked off later this year, will not only contribute to diversifying the country’s renewable energy mix, but also play a pivotal role in achieving the government’s Net Zero target by 2050.

According to a top official of Oman Environmental Services Holding Co (be’ah), the state-owned solid waste management entity, the Waste-to-Energy scheme will cut carbon emissions linked to its municipal landfills by noteworthy 50 million tonnes over 35 years.

be’ah – part of Oman Investment Authority (OIA) – is partnering with Nama Power and Water Procurement Co (Nama PWP), the sole national buyer of power and water output, in the delivery of the landmark project. Structured as an Independent Power Project (IPP), it will however be developed, financed and operated under a long-term power offtake agreement by the private sector.

“Capable of consuming a daily capacity of 4,500 tonnes of municipal waste, the plant is expected to reduce landfill carbon emissions by 50 million tonnes in 35 years (1.3 million tonnes per year), accounting for 30 per cent of total carbon dioxide equivalent currently emitted by landfill operations,” said Ahmed Hamed al Subhi, Chairman of the Board of Directors at be’ah.

“Such a significant reduction will aid Oman’s efforts to satisfy international commitments under the Paris Agreement. It also involves the private sector in the construction and operation of the WTE plant, providing a long-term platform for collaboration between two critical sectors with a common goal of long-term sustainability,” he added in a recent interview to The Business Year, a global media group.

Nama PWP, part of Nama Group, had recently revealed that it plans to kickstart the competitive process, which faced headwinds during the global economic downturn and pandemic, in 2023. Feedstock for the plant, with a proposed capacity of between 130 -150 MW, will be provided by be’ah in the form of municipal waste collected from the governorates of Muscat and South Al Batinah. The plant itself is proposed to be established at Barka in South Al Batinah and is targeted for commercial operation in 2028.

Beyond advancing Oman’s renewable energy objectives, the Waste-to-Energy project will have wider benefits for the national economy, says be’ah. “Oman’s energy diversification ambitions and move to renewable sources have been greatly aided by the construction of the first WTE plant,” said Al Subhi.

“This initiative will help to spur economic growth by opening up investment opportunities in the environmental sector and creating jobs through direct and indirect employment with SMEs and service providers. It also allows be’ah to fit into our ongoing efforts to reduce landfill use across the Sultanate, provide long-term waste management solutions, and lower greenhouse gas emissions,” he further stated.

Purely from a capacity standpoint the Barka project will account for a relatively minuscule share of the total contribution of around 40 per cent targeted from renewable energy resources by 2040. The dominant share will comes from solar PV projects, with wind farms accounting for the rest.

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