Oman - A new direct interconnection link between the electricity grids of Sultanate of Oman and the GCC Interconnection Authority (GCCIA) is currently under design and is expected to be completed by Q4 2026, according to Oman’s national grid operator OETC.

The new direct link will connect the 400kV grid station at the Ibri Independent Power Project (IPP) in Oman’s Al Dhahirah Governorate with a new 400kV grid station some 20 kilometres away in Ibri. The latter will be built and owned by GCCIA. Overhead lines running 528 kilometres will extend from the Ibri GCCIA 400kV grid station all the way to another 400kV grid station owned by GCCIA at Silaa in the UAE capital Abu Dhabi.

Commenting on the new link, OETC’s Chief Executive Officer Eng Sultan al Rumhi said: “The GCCIA has agreed to construct a new 400kV direct line with Sultanate of Oman. The new line will connect the Oman Transmission System with the GCCIA via the introduction of a new direct link between OETC Ibri IPP and Silaa grid stations, which is planned to be completed in Q4 2026. The new link will enhance system reliability and resiliency by increasing the total transfer capability up to 1600 MW between the Oman and GCCIA networks,” he added in the company’s newly unveiled 5-Year Annual Transmission Capability Statement (2024 – 2028).

Oman is already connected with the GCCIA through the transmission system of the UAE (Transco Abu Dhabi). Completed in 2011, the interconnection connects the Mahdha grid station (Al Wasit) in Oman with the Al Oha grid station at Al Ain in the UAE.

According to OETC, interconnectivity directly with the GCCIA grid has several technical and commercial benefits, notably: Integration of spinning reserve requirements, Economic trading of power between member systems, Optimization of generation dispatch, Potential for renewable energy development, Reduction in fuel gas/diesel used for power generation, Improving grid security and availability, Reduction in generation capacity requirements, and CAPEX and OPEX savings.

In 2023 alone, power exchanged between Oman and existing GCCIA interconnection amounted to 93,029.56 megawatt-hours (MWh) through exports and 85,089.46 MWh through imports.

Significantly, OETC is also firming up plans for an interconnection between the isolated Musandam system, which is supplied via conventional gas and diesel power, with the transmission interconnected system of the UAE (Transco).

“The new interconnection will provide benefits in terms of increasing grid stability, creating reliable and accessible power supply, improving security of supply, and saving generation investments,” said OETC.

It entails the installation of a new 132 kV double overhead line of 25km and underground cable of 6km between the existing 132 kV Fila grid station (UAE TRANSCO) to the existing 132 kV Dibba grid station in Oman.

“Recently, OETC succeeded in securing the initial approval from the Authority for Public Services Regulation (APSR) and the expected completion date of the project is December 2026,” the Omani grid operator added.

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