Muscat: A contract to build the Sultanate’s first large-scale wind-based renewable power project is expected to be signed by next month. A European company is seen bagging the project, which will generate 50 megawatt electricity at Harweel in Dhofar governorate, according to a source.
The renewable energy project is being jointly developed by the state-owned Rural Areas Electricity Company (Raeco) and the UAE-based Masdar. The construction will take anywhere between 18 to 24 months to start power generation, after awarding the project.
“The project will be operated by Raeco under a power purchase agreement with Oman Power and Water Procurement Company (OPWP). The project is expected to reach commercial operation in 2017,” said a seven-year outlook for power and water demand released by the Oman Power and Water Procurement Company (OPWP).
Earlier reports suggested that the renewable energy project in Dhofar will cost $125 million. The plant will help reduce Oman's reliance on fossil fuels and meet the country's increasing energy demand.
Considering the potential intermittency of this resource, it is not currently considered as firm capacity. “This position may be altered with experience of the project’s electricity output. OPWP has evaluated hourly wind data collected at the site, and simulated the project’s likely production profile and contribution to the Dhofar Power System,” noted the seven-year outlook report.
In addition to creating a number of direct and indirect jobs, the Dhofar wind farm project will also help in the development of a cadre of Omanis specialising in the construction and operation of wind turbines.
Oman government has been encouraging investment in renewable energy since it will contribute immensely in reducing the use of traditional fossil fuel for generating electricity. Thus, the country can divert these precious resources for other industries, which will add value and generate employment opportunities. It will also contribute to the government's plan to reduce subsidy, which has been surging ahead year after year.
The proposed wind project will come up in a total area of 200,000 square metres and the power capacity of the plant will be sufficient for about 50 per cent of consumption in Dhofar region during winter season, said an earlier report.
According to earlier reports, as many as 15 to 25 turbines would be installed with heights of 120 to 145 metres from the surface of the land depending on topography. The estimated capacity of the single turbine is 2 to 3.2 MW, depending on its location and wind movement.