Muscat – Production of electricity from renewable energy sources in Oman this year has reached 650MW, a remarkable milestone since a modest beginning in 2019 with the 50MW Dhofar Wind Power Plant.
The sultanate has set at an ambitious target of producing 3,350MW by 2027, as well as having renewables contribute 20 per cent of the overall energy consumption requirements by 2030.
The government aims to enhance energy security for a sustainable future and achieve a balance between the requirements of sustainable development and the optimal use of natural resources for the growth of the national economy, while reducing the effects of climate change.
It seems difficult to comprehend that a 13mn sqm area, currently occupied by Ibri Solar Power Plant in which nearly 2,000 robots operate to clean 1.5mn two-sided solar panels, was deserted less than three years ago.
The Ibri plant was opened beginning of this year with a production capacity of 500MW, enough to cover 50,000 homes and contribute to reducing 340,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions annually.
The country is working, according to an ambitious plan, to promote renewable energy generation through diverse projects in a strategic direction based on creating effective, balanced and resilient ecosystems to protect the environment and sustain its natural resources in support of the national economy.
‘This transformation is being achieved by raising the percentage of renewable energy production and reducing dependence on natural gas in the production of electricity and its exploitation in other areas such as industry. This is in addition to enhancing the environmental performance index – to be among the top 40 countries around the world,’ a report by ONA stated.
After Dhofar Wind Power Plant, which contributes to reducing 116,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions annually, the Amin Solar Power Plant was launched in 2020.
It has a production capacity of 100MW, enough to power 15,000 homes and contribute to reducing 225,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions annually.
Among the most important projects planned in the renewable energy sector are the Manah 1 and 2 solar power plant projects, with an estimated production capacity of 1,000MW for the two plants. It will contribute to reducing 680,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions annually and is expected to start commercial operation by the end of 2024.
Other projects include a Concentrated Solar Power project, with a thermal storage to keep operating after sundown in the Special Economic Zone at Duqm, a wind farm with a production capacity of 100MW in the wilayat of Jalan Bani Bu Ali in South Sharqiyah, and establishment of at least two wind energy projects with capacities ranging from 160MW to 200MW in the wilayat of Duqm.
In Dhofar, there are plans to establish a wind energy farm – Dhofar 2 – with production capacity of 100MW.