Oman’s first wind farm project comes online

The Sultanate’s maiden utility-scale wind farm — the Dhofar Wind Power Project — began generating electricity last week, heralding a new era in low-carbon, renewables-based power generation in Oman.
The Rural Areas Electricity Company (Tanweer) — part of Nama Group — announced that the landmark project, located at Harweel in Dhofar Governorate, was brought online for the first time last week.
“Tanweer is proud to announce the launch of the Dhofar Wind Power Project as one of the major achievements of the project. The commercial operation of the plant is expected in the coming months,” the state-owned utility, whose mandates covers remote areas unconnected to the national grids, said in a Twitter post.
The 50 MW wind farm, comprising 13 towering wind turbines, was constructed by multinational conglomerate GE in partnership with Spain’s TSK under contracts awarded by renewable energy pioneer Masdar. Tanweer will oversee operation and management of the farm, which is also the first large-scale wind project in the Arabian Gulf region, when it is fully operational.
With the formal start-up of the Dhofar Wind Project, Oman’s ambitious grid-connected renewable energy programme has now entered the operational phase.
The Oman Power and Water Procurement Company (OPWP) — the sole offtaker of output from power generation and water desalination projects — plans to procure at least 2,200 MW of renewables based electricity capacity by 2025 within the Main Interconnected System (MIS), serving the northern half of the Sultanate. Smaller wind-based schemes are
envisioned in the Sharqiyah, Al Duqm and Dhofar zones.
Electricity output from the Dhofar Power Project will be allocated to OPWP under a long-term Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with operator Tanweer. However, as with any wind-based scheme, output is subject to intermittency and seasonality, according to the state-owned procurer.
“Wind energy output is seasonal and intermittent during the day. The greatest output periods for the Dhofar project are expected to be in the evening and night. OPWP has utilised ground-measured wind data in Harweel, supplemented by satellite data, to estimate the contribution of wind projects to generation adequacy at around 35 per cent of the projects’ installed capacity. This may change as data is collected from the Wind Resources Assessment (WRA) and award of projects providing accurate configuration and yield
assessments at specific sites,” it explained in its latest 7-Year Outlook Report for the 2019-2025 timeframe.
Going forward, OPWP has plans to procure a number of wind-based Independent Power Projects (IPPs). “The most promising areas for onshore wind energy development are in coastal highland areas of Dhofar and Al Wusta governorates, although certain mountainous areas of Sharqiyah Governorate also have potential,” according to OPWP.
Among the initiatives envisioned by OPWP is a wind-based IPP of around 100 MW in Sharqiyah South Governorate for completion in 2023. In the Duqm Power System, OPWP’s plans include Wind IPPs of around 200 MW to be potentially located across multiple sites, for completion in 2023. Some capacity is also envisaged in windswept parts of Dhofar Governorate.