Large-scale solar project upsized to 500MW

MUSCAT, OCT 22 – A competitive process for the development of Oman’s first large-scale solar project, due to be kicked off later this year, could see a world-scale scheme of up to 500-megawatt (MW) capacity being implemented in the Sultanate.
This represents a significant departure from the capacity of around 200 MW originally envisaged by Oman Power and Water Procurement Company (OPWP), the sole procurer of all new electricity and desalinated water capacity, when the initiative was first unveiled a couple of years ago.
“OPWP has already conducted a feasibility study for a major solar electricity project and we expect that a tender for the first utility scale project — which could be as large as 500MW capacity — will be released by the end of the year,” said Mohammed bin Abdullah al Mahrouqi, Chairman of the Public Authority for Electricity and Water (PAEW), in reference to plans for Oman’s maiden utility-scale solar based venture.
OPWP CEO Eng Yaqoob al Kiyumi added that a contract award for the keenly anticipated project is likely during the second half of 2018. “We expect to start the tendering process by the end of this year, and will award the contract by the third or fourth quarter of next year.
Further details about the project will be available before the end of this year,” Al Kiyumi said in a panel discussion held as part of a breakfast session hosted by the Oman American Business Council (OABC) yesterday.
Advancements in solar technology, as well as the falling cost of solar panels, also augur well for the strong rollout of renewables in the Sultanate, the CEO said. “The time is ripe for the Sultanate to deliver a utility scale solar project.
The technology has improved enough to make the project bankable, and with recent developments in PV technology, we feel really confident in progressing this project,” he said.
The proposed large-scale solar project, the CEO said, will serve as a springboard for the eventual development of other renewable-based schemes.
Development of renewables will be accelerated in the future to help to achieve the roughly 3,000 MW of renewable based capacity set by the government by the 2030 timeframe.

Conrad Prabhu