Muscat: Oman plans to generate 90 megawatts (MW) of electricity from renewable projects by 2019, and the development and potential of renewable energy in Oman are very promising, said a top level official at Siemens in Oman.
Oman’s experiment with new models in partnership with the private sector and its eagerness in adopting new technology and getting involved in research could pave the way for large-scale renewable projects, Markus-Erich Strohmeier, chief executive officer of Siemens Oman, told Times of Oman.
“The Sultanate has long looked to renewable power projects to achieve energy independence, while maintaining steady hydrocarbon exports. With several pilot solar projects, the renewables sector could soon enjoy a period of strong private expansion,” added Strohmeier.
“At any rate, the energy system of the future must be reconceived. This is because the more renewable, fluctuating electricity flows through the grids, the more flexible the grids must become – something that can be achieved only through the use of storage technology.”
For example, the Siemens SILYZER technology is an innovative electrolysis system for converting electricity into hydrogen or chemicals.
“As part of Siemens Gamesa, we can provide end-to-end turnkey solutions, handling the design, engineering and commissioning of the solar power plants. For instance, we are the leading supplier of steam turbines for Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) applications; a technology we are certainly keen on bringing to Oman,” added Strohmeier. Recently, Siemens Gamesa has been mandated to develop India's first large commercial hybrid wind-solar project, where a 28.8MW solar facility will be connected to an existing 50MW wind farm.
Siemens can also supply innovative and cost-saving photovoltaic inverters to better meet the growing energy demand. Siemens inverters are distinguished by their flexibility and reduced distribution losses for solar plants.
“In addition, we have a comprehensive portfolio, encompassing different solutions to connect solar plants with the grid as well as transmitting and distributing power generated from these plants, so we are basically a one-stop-shop for renewable projects.”
Siemens' portfolio includes not only the electrical scope of projects and the substations but also digitalisation and automation solutions, management systems and training for plants’ personnel.
Referring to the advantages of renewable energy projects in the Sultanate, Strohmeier said the country’s shift towards renewables made a great deal of sense. The country’s high ratio of sky clearance allows solar collectors to receive daily radiation, giving the Sultanate one of the highest solar energy densities in the world. The country also has sufficient land available for large-scale projects.
“In the wind arena, we are seeing the first industrial-scale wind power project, which is being developed by Rural Areas Electricity Company (Raeco) and UAE-based renewable clean energy company, Masdar,” noted the Siemens chief. The news of Raeco’s plans to launch more renewable projects in the near future will also be a catalyst for creating new business opportunities and jobs.
“All this development will certainly lead to a surplus of low-cost energy supplies. Therefore, we need to embrace new concepts to further utilise this energy,” said Strohmeier, adding, “Electricity via hydrogen to chemicals can be one of these futuristic fields to explore. The main concept here is that the chemicals industry can use renewable feedstock for the production of fertilizers and other products.”
Siemens is a leading supplier of steam turbines for CSP applications, while Siemens Gamesa is leading the onshore and offshore wind turbine industry. “Certainly, we are eagerly looking forward to supporting Oman in its endeavors to increase the share of renewables in the country’s energy mix,” Strohmeier stated.