Provisional plans drawn up by Oman Power and Water Procurement Company (OPWP), the single buyer of all new electricity and water output, envision the need for a fourth solar photovoltaic (PV) based Independent Power Project (IPP) to support growing electricity requirements within the Main Interconnected System (MIS) – the grid that covers much of the northern half of the Sultanate of Oman.

Dubbed ‘MIS Solar IPP 2025’, the new solar-based scheme is proposed to come up in Al Dakhiliyah Governorate. “The site for the fourth solar IPP is currently under review, following completion of a site assessment study in December 2019. Candidate sites include a previously defined site at Adam and a number of sites in other locations. This project is expected to use PV technology, with capacity around 500 MW. The RfQ (Request for Qualifications) was planned for release in Q4 2021 and the project will have the COD scheduled in Q2 2025,” the power procurer stated in its 7-Year Statement covering the outlook over the 2021-2027 timeframe.

The country’s maiden grid-connected solar scheme – the Ibri II IPP – came into operation in Al Dhahirah Governorate with a capacity of around 500 MW late last year. Two more solar projects — Manah I Solar and Manah II Solar IPP – are planned for implementation in the Wilayat of Manah, also in Al Dakhiliyah Governorate.

An RfQ for a competitive tender covering the development of a pair of 500 MW solar IPPs, located side-by-side in Manah, was launched just before the pandemic, with the procurement process expected to be revived later this year.

Significantly, a fifth utility-scale solar PV project, tentatively slated for commercial launch in 2027, is envisioned in Al Wusta Governorate. Dubbed ‘Solar PV 2027’, the project will have a capacity of around 600 MW.

Additionally, a first-ever Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) project with thermal storage is proposed to be set up near Duqm, according to OPWP. A feasibility study is currently underway in this regard, it said.

Wind farms

At least three wind-based projects are planned for procurement over the 2021-2027 timeframe, according to OPWP’s 7-Year Outlook Statement for this period.

Within the Main Interconnected System, a wind farm of around 100 MW is planned in the Wilayat of Jaalan Bani Bu Ali in North Al Sharqiyah Governorate. A pair of 100-metre high wind masts has been installed at specific locations within the wilayat for the collection of wind resource data.

In the Wilayat of Duqm, OPWP has plans to procure at least two wind projects of capacities ranging from 160-200 MW. The ‘Duqm Wind IPP 2025’ project is envisioned on a site within the SEZ at Duqm, said OPWP. “The installed capacity is nominally estimated at around 200 MW, but will be confirmed following assessment of the measured wind data and wind farm layout optimisation analyses,” it noted.

Duqm II Wind IPP 2027, another utility-scale wind power project, is proposed to be developed at a site approximately 60 kilometres from Duqm City with a capacity of at least 160 MW.

In Dhofar Governorate, OPWP aims to develop a second wind energy farm, adjoining the country’s first wind project – Dhofar 1 Wind IPP – at Harweel. The new scheme, dubbed ‘Dhofar II Wind IPP’, is sized at around 100 MW of capacity.

In concluding, OPWP stated that it plans to procure around 2,200 MW of renewable energy-based IPPs in the MIS by 2027. This is in addition to the 500 MW Ibri II IPP, which was brought into formal operation earlier this year. Additional renewables-based IPPs are being planned for other systems, it said.

“The locations and type of future RE projects depend on demand growth, approval of transmission projects, and site allocations. Procurement timelines may be amended following demand forecast updates,” it added.

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