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Study shows solar, wind promising alternatives to fossil fuel in Oman

14 Feb 2022 Study shows solar, wind promising alternatives to fossil fuel in Oman By OUR CORRESPONDENT

Muscat – A new study has demonstrated that both solar radiation and wind can be seen as promising and substantial alternative sources of fossil fuel resources in Oman, with almost 3.2 per cent and 4.4 per cent of the Omani territory being valid for the sustainable use of wind and solar radiation, respectively.

The research ‘Exploring the potential of solar, tidal and wind energy resources in Oman using an integrated climatic-socioeconomic approach’ by principal investigator Dr Mohamed Eldesoky Hereher, assistant professor, Geography Department, Sultan Qaboos University (SQU), was awarded in the Energy and Industry field within the PhD category at the 8th National Research Award organised by the Ministry of Higher Education, Research and Innovation.

According to the results of the study, the most recommended sites for wind generation are located mainly along Al Jazir and the coast of Duqm in southeastern Oman, where a promising wind energy centre can be constructed. The best locations for the development of hybrid solar radiation generation centres are in Sohar and Thumrayt, where solar intensity approaches 8.1kWh/m2, with a high frequency of occurrence throughout the year. In contrast, Oman showed a low potential to generate tidal power, mainly due to a low tidal range (<2m) along the majority of the Oman’s coastline.

For this particular research, Hereher and his team presented for the first time, a comprehensive assessment of the potential renewable energy resources in Oman, with particular focus on solar, wind and tidal energy resources. The study adopted a novel approach to assess the potential of these energy resources, in which information from multiple climatic indicators is coupled with socioeconomic drivers of energy development.

Specifically, based on a daily dataset of the National Centre for Environmental Prediction Climate Forecast System Reanalysis, three climate indicators were employed to characterise the frequency, intensity and duration of solar radiation and wind speed.

According to Hereher, the team then introduced a new overall assessment index based on these three climatic indicators to explore the best localities from a climatic perspective for generating solar and wind energies. The validity of the recommended sites was discussed in the context of important physiographic, environmental and socioeconomic constraints (eg population density, urban settlements, distance to water bodies, transportation network, etc.)

Hereher said that this study has provided a solid base for national and local decision makers in Oman for reliable assessment, monitoring and sustainable exploitation of clean and renewable energy resources, especially in view of the high population growth, accelerated urbanisation and rapid economic growth over the past few decades, which can pose more challenges to future energy demand in this country.

This research project was conducted by Hereher and Dr Ahmed M El Kenawy at Sultan Qaboos University. It was published in Renewable Energy journal (Vol 161, pages 662-675) in December 2020.

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