MUSCAT, APRIL 8 - The Sultanate is firming up plans for the development of the nation’s first Independent Power Project (IPP) based on clean-coal technology — adding to a diversifying energy mix that will include solar photovoltaic (PV) based renewables and potentially waste-to-energy schemes as well.
On Sunday, the Oman Power and Water Procurement Company (OPWP) — the sole procurer of new power generation and water desalination capacity under the Sector Law — issued a Request for Qualifications (RfQ) inviting international developers to submit their technical qualifications as the first step in a competitive tender for the development of the landmark project at Duqm in Wusta Governorate.
The maiden coal-based scheme will have a capacity of around 1,200 megawatts (MW), OPWP said. The move underscores an energetic effort by Oman’s authorities to end the dominance of natural gas as the principal fuel source for power generation and water desalination in the Sultanate. By offsetting gas consumption via investments in renewable and alternative energy sources, the government aims to divert any gas volumes saved in the process into value-adding manufacturing and petrochemicals based activities.
The launch of the competitive process for the development of a coal-based IPP comes on the back of a techno-feasibility study conducted by Finland-based international consulting and engineering services firm Pöyry on OPWP’s behalf. Pöyry’s remit was to evaluate the feasibility of establishing a first-ever privately funded, coal-based IPP in the Sultanate. At a press briefing hosted by OPWP late last year, Yaqoob Saif Hamood al Kiyumi, CEO, confirmed that the techno-feasibility study had been completed and its findings placed before the government for its consideration.
Importantly, the proposed scheme will be executed on a Build-Own- Operate (BOO) basis, mirroring the methodology currently in place for the execution of conventional natural gas-based power projects.
Duqm has long been seen as ideally positioned to host a coal-based power plant Duqm because of its enabling characteristics. This includes the presence of a modern port, adjoining Special Economic Zone, and ample land for future expansions, if any.
Further, with plans for an interconnection between the Main Interconnected System (MIS) serving North Oman and the Dhofar Power System in the south, Duqm will be eventually incorporated into a national interconnected system, it is pointed out.
OPWP has set June 7, 2018 as the deadline for the receipt of qualification credentials from interested bidders.