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Oman’s largest solar farm for desalination plant inaugurated

6 Nov 2023 Oman’s largest solar farm for desalination plant inaugurated By GULAM ALI KHAN

Sur – H E Salim bin Nasser al Aufi, Minister of Energy and Minerals, on Monday inaugurated the 17-megawatt peak (MWp) solar photovoltaic (PV) farm producing green energy to power the Sharqiyah Desalination Plant in Sur.

It is the largest solar power system for a desalination plant in Oman with an annual capacity of over 32,000 MWh of green electricity which will cover 100% of the desalination plant’s consumption over the daylight period.

Developed by Veolia in partnership with TotalEnergies, the plant is a significant milestone towards decarbonisation efforts in the region as it will help cut about 27,200 tonnes of CO2 emissions per year, equivalent to the emissions generated by approximately 6,000 internal combustion engine-powered vehicles over the same period.

Speaking during the event, H E Aufi said, “I am glad to witness the official inauguration of this crucial solar photovoltaic facility at the Sharqiyah Desalination Plant, which serves over 600,000 inhabitants of the Sharqiyah region with clean drinking water. The solar plant aligns well with global efforts towards energy transition for a net-zero world.”

According to the Minister, this facility will also be one of the significant contributors to water security in Oman and to the National Energy Strategy, which aims to derive 30% of electricity from renewable sources by 2030 – one of the objectives of Oman Vision 2040.

“I commend Veolia, its partners, and everyone involved in the development of this plant for their unwavering commitment and hard work in bringing this project to fruition.”

Philippe Bourdeaux, vice president – Africa, Near & Middle East of Veolia, said, “We are delighted to see that our solar project has started serving its mission. This achievement would not have been possible without the support of the leadership in the Sultanate of Oman, particularly the Ministry of Energy and Minerals. We express our gratitude to them and our private sector partners for helping us join local efforts towards energy transition and decarbonisation. Veolia aims to be the world leader in ecological transformation.”

The inauguration was attended by Veolia’s and TotalEnergies senior management and group’s partners including government officials and representatives of the Sharqiyah Desalination Company and the Nama Power and Water Procurement Company (NPWP).

Denis Le Maout, chairman of the Board of Sharqiyah Desalination Company, said, “With desalination capacity of 131,837 cubic metres per day (m3/day), producing over 400mn cubic metres of water since 2007, our desalination plant in Sur is among the most important projects in the sultanate and one of the lifelines for delivering drinking water for local communities, while reducing the extraction of already scarce freshwater resources.

As the conventional desalination process comes at a heavy price for both the environment and the economy, our efforts have been to tap the potential of innovative technologies, including renewable energy to positively impact the environment, create economic opportunities and contribute to the community’s overall welfare.”

Ahmed bin Salim al Abari, acting CEO of Nama for Power and Water Procurement Company, said, “NPWP is collaborating with water desalination plants to support them in transitioning to the use of renewable energy for desalination purposes. This effort aligns with Oman’s objectives to reach 30% of electricity generation from renewable sources by 2030 and 40% by 2040. We congratulate Sharqiyah Desalination Company for having the solar farm which will ensure water supply to North and South Sharqiyah governorates using renewable energy.”

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