Oman seeks bids for large-scale solar projects

solar petejelliffe flickrOman Power and Water Procurement Company (OPWP) has invited bids from qualified technical and economic consultants to support the implementation of large-scale solar power plants in the sultanate

This is after the study commissioned by the Authority for Electricity Regulation (AER) concluded that levels of solar energy in Oman are amongst the highest in the world, Muscat Daily reported.

The programme will support the government policy to encourage the use of renewable energy to meet future demand for electricity, an OPWP statement said.

The implementation of the projects will follow the successful independent power producer (IPP) format, using a transparent competition process to award contracts to highly qualified, private sector companies delivering world class technology solutions, it noted.

At the time the AER study was conducted, there was little data available on solar insolation at ground level and the cost of electricity generated from solar energy was high compared to the cost of high efficiency combined cycle gas fired plant currently used to meet the vast majority of Oman’s electricity needs.

Following the publication of the report, the Public Authority for Electricity and Water (PAEW) and OPWP implemented a sophisticated solar monitoring programme at a number of short-listed sites to gather data on solar insolation at ground level. OPWP now has five years of detailed data to support the implementation of solar power projects. During the period that this data was being gathered, costs of solar power have reduced dramatically.

Ahmed al Jahdhami, CEO of OPWP, said that the combination of government support, availability of detailed solar data and falling prices mean that the time is now right to implement large scale solar power plants in Oman.

He added that with the growth in energy demand in Oman, wider scale implementation of solar power projects on the IPP model will allow OPWP to achieve its objectives of sustainably providing power generation capacity. The sector will aim to implement solar power projects with a focus on in-country value and building local capabilities in line with Nama Group Sustainability Strategy, he stated.

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