MUSCAT: Electricity supply from Oman’s modest, but burgeoning, renewable energy sector increased during 2023 in line with a commitment by Oman Electricity Transmission Company (OETC), the operator of the country’s transmission grid, to prioritise despatch from clean energy generation over conventional gas-based output.

According to OETC CEO Saleh Nasser al Rumhi, the landmark interconnection project ‘Rabt’, currently advancing southward to Salalah from Duqm SEZ, will open up vast areas of the country for investment in renewable energy projects, in turn accelerating the uptake and despatch of clean via the national grid.

“We () bolstered the flow of clean and renewable energy units through our network from the Ibri Solar at a growth rate exceeding 76,825 megawatt-hours (MWH) compared to 2022, and the Dhofar Wind Farm with an increase of over 7,142 MWH,” Al Rumhi stated in the CEO’s Message featured in OETC’s newly published 2023 Annual Report.

Oman presently has only two utility-scale, grid-connected renewable energy projects in operation: a 50MW capacity wind farm at Harweel in Dhofar, and a 500MW capacity solar PV scheme at Ibri (also known as Ibri II Solar IPP) in Al Dhahirah Governorate.

However, over the course of the next six years, around 1.5 GW of solar projects along with 1 GW of wind capacity are being prepped for development at key locations around the country. This is in line with the government’s commitment to securing at least 30% of the country’s energy requirements from renewables by 2030.

Critical to this objective is the Rabt Interconnection project – a strategic initiative to integrate the country’s standalone grids in the north and south. Phase 1 of the project, which extends the North Oman grid to Duqm SEZ, was brought into operation late last year with a capital investment of RO 183 million. The second phase, work on which was launched earlier this year with an investment of RO 257 million, will integrate the Dhofar System into the national grid.

With the establishment of a modern, high-capacity interconnected transmission system, future renewable projects planned in far-flung parts of Oman will be connected to the national grid, OETC stressed in its report.

“Energy will be transmitted from wind farms in the Dhofar Governorate, solar energy production projects in the Al Dhahirah and Al Wusta Governorates, and numerous development projects distributed all through the Sultanate’s governorates,” the majority state-owned operator – part of Nama Group - stressed.

“By lowering reliance on electricity generated from fuel and gas and raising reliance on electricity produced from clean energy as a project, it will also directly help reduce the impact of the carbon footprint,” it further added.

OETC’s revenues from the Transmission Use of System (TUoS) and Connection Charges (CC) climbed 12.31% to RO 160.97 million in 2023, up from RO 143.33 million in 2022. The gross profit rose 12.78% to RO 87.60 million in 2023, up from RO 77.67 million a year earlier. The operating profit increased 12.4% to RO 87.28 million in 2023 compared to RO 77.673 million a year ago. However, net profit after tax dipped 1.94% to RO 41.7 million in 2023, compared to RO 43.64 million in the previous year. The total value of OETC assets soared 16.75% to RO 1.77 billion, compared to RO 1.516 billion in 2022.

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