Shell Oman targets 300MW of renewable capacity in Sohar Freezone

Shell Development Oman’s renewable energy arm, ‘Qabas’, has plans to develop as much as 300 megawatts (MW) of renewable energy-based capacity to support the green energy requirements of industrial companies operating in the free zone area of Sohar Port.

Envisaged for implementation in a series of stages, the first 25 MW of solar-PV based capacity is expected to be operational before the end of this year, according to Sohar Port and Freezone.

“SOHAR Freezone has joined forces with Shell, who will develop up to 300 MW of renewable energy, adding economic value to Oman and our industries. The first 25 MW solar project is scheduled to come on stream this year,” said Sohar Port and Freezone in a tweet on Wednesday.

It follows an agreement signed by Shell in April 2019 for the lease of land for the development of the first commercial-scale solar PV plant in the free zone area. These investments in renewables-based capacity, according to Shell, are designed to offer solar power solutions for the free zone’s industrial tenants. Thus, the transition to competitively priced clean energy will help free up natural gas resources for potential use in economically productive initiatives, it has stressed.

Around 600 hectares of land within the free zone has been earmarked by the port for renewable energy schemes of capacities ranging from 10 to 40 MW.  The output from these energy farms is proposed to be channeled to various industries operating either within the free zone or the adjoining industrial port.

The first industrial tenant that is tipped to benefit from ‘clean energy’ from Qabas is Al Tamman Indsil Ferrochrome, which owns and operates Oman’s first ferrochrome plant in Sohar Freezone.  Al Tamman Indsil’s ferrochrome smelter, which was commissioned in 2013, has an installed capacity of 75,000 metric tons per annum (mtpa) of high carbon ferrochrome.

Assisting Qabas in the roll-out of the first 25 MW solar PV plant in the Sohar Freezone are solar PV specialists Sterling and Wilson Solar Ltd, the solar engineering and construction arm of Shapoorji Pallonji Group.

Last week, Sterling and Wilson, one of the largest solar EPC solutions providers in the region, announced that it had successfully commissioned the 100 MW solar PV based farm of Amin Renewable Energy Company (AREC) in the south of Oman. The output from the solar farm is committed to Petroleum Development Oman (PDO) under a long-term offtake agreement.