Oman unveils plan for 2nd mega solar project

MUSCAT: Taking its ambitious renewable energy development programme into higher gear, the Sultanate has unveiled plans for the procurement of a second utility-scale solar power plant, this time around sized at up to a world-scale 1 gigawatts (GW). The mega scheme, according to Oman Power and Water Procurement Company (OPWP) — the sole procurer of new power and water capacity under the sector law — will be a solar photo-voltaic (PV) based Independent Power Project (IPP) due for commercial launch in 2022. The Solar 2022 IPP, as the new project has now been named, is expected to be implemented alongside Oman’s maiden commercial-scale solar, dubbed ‘Ibri II Solar IPP’, which will come up in the Wilayat of Ibri in Dhahirah Governorate.

Kicking off the groundwork for the procurement of the new giant solar scheme, OPWP said: “In line with Oman’s vision to diversify fuel sources for power generation and following the ongoing procurement of the first utility scale solar PV IPP in Oman, OPWP would now like to initiate the process for the second utility scale solar project to the connected to the Main Interconnected System in Oman, with a capacity between 500 MW to 1,000 MW, known as Solar 2022 IPP.”

To this end, the state-owned procurer — a member of Nama Group — has invited international consultancy firms to bid for its technical consultancy services contract and to advice OPWP on the competitive process linked to the procurement of the mega scheme. Interested firms have until November 13, 2018 to submit their offers, OPWP said in a tender notification on this landmark project. The announcement comes as OPWP prepares to name a developer to implement Oman’s first commercial-scale solar IPP — a 500 MW scheme planned at Ibri. A number of prominent international power developers including energy giants such as BP, Shell, EDF and Total, are in contention for the maiden project.

Bids are due in by October 22, 2018, with an award likely to be announced before the end of this year, while commercial launch is slated during 2021.
OPWP aims to procure more than 2,600 MW of renewables based power generation capacity by 2025, in line with a commitment to ensuring that renewables account for at least 10 per cent of total generation capacity. New solar-based capacity additions are planned at yearly intervals via a succession of procurements, each sized at a minimum of 500 MW, for commercial launch in 2023 and 2024. Also envisioned is a pair of large-scale wind power schemes, each of around 200 MW, to be brought into operation in 2023 and 2024 respectively.

Conrad Prabhu