21 June 2017

Agreements linked to the development of Oman’s first commercial-scale wind farm at Harweel in Dhofar Governorate are expected to be formalised “very soon”, paving the way for the early implementation of this keenly anticipated, albeit somewhat stalled, renewable energy initiative.

The 50 megawatt-capacity wind farm is being developed as a partnership between the Rural Areas Electricity Company (RAECO), a subsidiary of Nama Group, and Masdar, a UAE-based renewable energy development agency.

The project, originally slated for launch earlier this year, is set to make headway in its development in the coming months, according to a top official of RAECO. “Things are moving ahead, and hopefully in the coming period, we will see this materialise in the form of formal agreements leading to the start of its development,” said Eng Saleh Nasser al Rumhi, Chief Executive Officer.

An estimated $125 million will be invested in the establishment of the wind farm, which is proposed to house up to 25 wind turbines each with a capacity to produce 2-3.5 MW per wind turbine. The venture will meet the electricity needs of around 16,000 homes in the Thamrait area.

“The project, which had been on hold for a period of time, has been reinitiated with Masdar moving ahead with the original 50 MW capacity plan,” said Eng Al Rumhi. “The project scope remains the same, although there may be some changes to the wind turbines to account for improvements in turbine technologies.” RAECO, which is responsible for electricity generation, transmission, distribution and supply in areas that lie outside of the Main Interconnected System (MIS) and Dhofar Power System, is the owner of the Wind Farm project, the CEO said.

“RAECO will own the project once it is constructed and handed over to us. We will also operate the project and sell electricity to Oman Power and Water Procurement Company (OPWP) via the 132kv grid in southern part of the country,” Eng Al Rumhi stated. “We anticipate some good news with regard to the wind farm project probably after the Eid holiday, when related agreements will be signed,” he added.

OPWP, the sole procurer of new electricity generation and water desalination capacity, recently announced the formation of a joint task force with the Public Authority for Electricity and Water (PAEW) to support the development of wind-based power projects in the Sultanate. The move promises to impart stronger impetus to the government’s strategy for harnessing renewable energy resources for power generation.

© Oman Daily Observer 2017