His Majesty Speech on the occasion of the annual session of the Council of Oman 2008:
“In this matter, we emphasize to press ahead the implementation of development policy according to the approved plans; and we emphasize the importance to diversify sources of income and exert more efforts in this matter. In addition, we emphasize to utilize alternatives for generating power and to achieve food security. We have directed the concerned authorities to prepare proper plans for this matter”.
The current status of renewable energy in the Sultanate of Oman:
Diam takes responsibility to study potential usage of renewable energy in generating electricity; so the government will reduce reliance on oil resources. In coordination with international consultant, Authority for Electricity Regulation has supervised a comprehensive study to measure the level of renewable energy in Oman. The level of solar energy density in Oman being one of the highest in the world, the Government seeks to use this to its advantage by utilizing the renewable energy source in collaboration with other organizations, companies and consulting firms. There is significant scope for developing solar energy resources throughout Oman and solar energy has the potential to provide sufficient electricity to meet all of Oman’s domestic electricity requirements and provide some electricity for export. Also, the study has recommended implementing pilot projects in rural areas to ensure efficiency of renewable energy technologies. At the end of 2013, Rural Areas Electricity Company has signed a contract to supervise the implementation of one of these pilot projects.
Diam has supervised various projects and studies that aim to establish solid and well thought-out foundation and to be reliable source for establishing general framework for sustainable and comprehensive policy in Renewable Energy field. The initiatives are as following:
First: International Initiatives
1 - Project for Energy Efficiency & Conservation Master Plan in the Power Sector in the Sultanate of Oman:
Diam - The Public Authority for Electricity and Water in collaboration with the Japanese Agency for International Cooperation (JICA), which in turn appointed a team of Japanese experts from Tokyo Electric Power (TEPCO) to conduct a study so as to develop, “energy efficiency and conservation master plan in the Power Sector in the Sultanate of Oman”. This study aimed to develop the necessary proposals in the field of energy and the development of energy efficiency and conservation master plan in the Power Sector in Oman to the year 2035 in order to improve energy efficiency in terms of demand and increase the added value of both electricity and energy on the level of overall economic of the country. The study has been completed in 2013.
The study has concluded with some recommendations for implementing the following measures:
- Energy Management System – EMS.
- Minimum Energy Standards & Labeling System – MESL.
- Energy Efficiency and Conservation Building Regulation- EBR.
- Demand Side Management Tariff System- DTS.
- Smart Meter – SM.
- Energy Efficiency & Conservation Dissemination Program. (EDP)
Download the Energy Conservation Master Plan
2 - Renewable Readiness Assessment
In 2009, Diam has joined The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA); therefore, the Sultanate will benefit from the international experiences in the field of RE. Being as Observer Status, the sultanate has the right to attend the agency meetings. As result of collaboration between the sultanate and other governments, who are members in the agency, Diam has established Renewable Energy Readiness Assessment in coordination with the agency and local consultant from SQU. IRENA has appointed the local consultant to study the current situation in the Sultanate and analysis RE available data. The results were used to prepare general and sustainable policy for RE. The study has been concluded in October 2014 and has presented various recommendations such as assessment and mapping of solar and wind energy potential in the Sultanate.
Download the Renewable Readiness Assessment Report
3 - Roof Top Project:
In 2013, Diam has prepared guiding frame for sustainable plan for RE in the Sultanate. The plan includes two main elements; short-mid-term plan and long term plan. The short-midterm plan aims to study the feasibility of using photovoltaic panel technology on the roof top. On the other hand, the long term plan aims to prepare comprehensive national energy strategy. The strategy includes utilizing renewable energy to cover the mounting demand on electricity, 8% to 10% annually, as result of residential and industrial expenditures in the sultanate.
The study has focused on the residential buildings; and concluded the possibility to produce 450 MW in Muscat governorate only and possibility to produce 1.4 GW if the technology been implemented in all governorates, which equals to 1.4 TWh in the year. Also, the study has presented the challenges of implemented this technologies such as high cost, high subsidy requirements, administrative and technical challenges and lack of local experience in this field. However, there are positive aspects in implementing this technology such as awareness and building capabilities in RE field, job opportunities in Small and Medium Enterprises. As mentioned in chart 1 below, the study has estimated that local sectors can participate by 35% of the total investment in this project.
Chart (1): Ratio of cost allocation for photovoltaic project and potential local sector to invest in this project (around 35%):
Download the Roof Top Report
Second: Local initiatives (studies):
1 - Feasibility study for using solar energy for generating electricity
A detailed study set up by Diam’s international consultant identified best locations for building solar power plants in the Sultanate out of 23 sites. The study confirmed that Sultanate has potential resources of solar energy which could be utilized for production of large capacity electric power. The study also identified and shortlisted best four locations- Adam, Manah, Ibri, AL-Khaboura- for future solar power plants which can have a capacity up to 200 MW .Adam and Manah have been recommended as ideal locations for such projects and preliminary environmental assessment was made. Also both locations have been used for establishing two meteorological plants for measuring solar energy data and other factors that affect plants design, in cooperation with the directorate General of Meteorology and Air Navigation and Oman Power and Water Procurement Company.
Download the large scale solar power plant study Report
2 - National Energy Strategy Project:
Diam has assigned experienced consultant to prepare National Energy Strategy for the Sultanate and to establish general policies and trends for securing mid and long term demand on the energy. The study has been concluded in the second quarter of 2015.
3 - Wind Atlas:
In 2015, Diam concluded Wind Resources Atlas study for the level of wind across the Sultanate, and the main factors influencing wind energy projects, also for the determination of best sites to install wind masts to get bankable wind data for 4 selected sites.
The study has identified the 15 most promising sites for wind energy production in Oman, where wind reaches around 11 m/s in those sites. Among those favorable sites, Diam has identified four sites for further field, environmental and geographical analysis. In addition, the study has prepared a program that includes site locations and number of meteorological masts, technical specifications for the equipment’s and expected duration of data collection. Also, preliminary designs for the four locations have been prepared; for which, the data recorded from wind masts will be evaluated and compared to the data obtained from satellites to ensure data accuracy in those locations to match international investors requirements. This also will enable Oman to establish reliable numerical model for wind atlas.
It is worth mentioning that phase two of the project aims to install the wind masts in four locations for data collection purpose. Willayat of Sadah, Shlim, Duqom and Ja’alan bani bu Ali have been selected for this purpose.
4 - Study the feasibility of producing electricity from wind in Dhofar
Making Diam’s unremitting efforts in support of renewable energy projects, the study regarding the development of wind energy in the province of Dhofar, in collaboration with an experienced consultant well versed in the field of energy studies the initial assessment and feasibility study has been completed.
The preliminary study ruled enforceability of the wind power plant project with a capacity of 50 MW technically, where the focus has been on several sites where the wind speeds range 7.7 - 7.3 m / s (about 15 knots). Rural Areas Electricity Company has been assigned to supervise the project and expected to be operational by 2017.
Download the Feasibility study for using wind for generating electricity in Dhofar
5 - Energy Conservation at Diam Assets Study:
An experienced consultant has been assigned to study 50 Diam’s sites such as pumping stations, desalination plants and wells. The company has implemented detailed and technical study by which an implementation plan was made with a focus on the Operational quick wins as well as investment projects with a detailed time framework. The project was concluded in April 2016.
Third: Local Initiatives in Capabilities Building Field
1 - Strategic Program for RE Researches:
In Coordination with the Research council, A Strategic Program for Renewable Energy researches and Capabilities building has been established in 2013. Diam has chaired the program’s steering committee. The program aims to enhance the Sultanate’s economy through energy conservation and utilizing renewable energy as alternative source; the objectives of the program are as following:
- Set mechanism for RE researches to combine expertise and proposed researches.
- Establish themes, principles and criteria for evaluating proposed researches in RE field.
- Support establishing a network for scientists and local and international researchers in RE field.
- Enhance the Sultanate’s capabilities in RE field.
- Align the efforts made by all RE institutions in the Sultanate.
Four main themes were selected for the progarm as following:
- Energy generation and storage.
- Energy Efficiency.
- Cooling and air conditioning.
2 - Collaboration with Ministry of Manpower and Ministry of Education
Diam is participating with Ministry of Manpower and Ministry of Education in preparing curriculums that cover RE field; therefore, preparing Omani Youth to lead the RE future in the Sultanate.
First: RE projects, require bankable data that meet the investor’s requirements.
Second: Even though the prices declined, RE technologies cost is still high in comparison with traditional generation methods.
Third: The electricity sector in the Sultanate is heavily subsidized by the government and introducing renewable energy will require additional subsidy from the government.
Fourth: Renewable energy target setting has strategic and multi-dimension consequences.