Industry Updates

Oman To Set Up National Energy Efficiency Centre

Nama Group tasked with drafting framework for pilot phase of proposed nodal agency to oversee national energy efficiency and conservation efforts. A first-of-its-kind institution dedicated to advancing energy conservation and energy efficiency as strategic national objectives is on the anvil in the Sultanate.

Initial responsibility for conceptualising the mandate of this central body has been given to Nama Group (The Electricity Holding Company), the state-owned holding company of government-owned electricity generation, transmission and distribution assets.

An announcement to this effect was made by Eng Salim bin Nasser al Aufi, Under-Secretary of the Ministry of Energy and Minerals, at the Energy Efficiency Conference hosted by OQ, the Sultanate’s integrated energy group, last week. “By the middle of this year, we should have a framework in place for establishing an Oman Energy Efficiency Centre,” said Al Aufi. “Nama Group is presently putting this framework together. We will know by mid-year what the mandate of the centre is, how it will work, and so on. This framework is for the pilot phase of the initiative, covering a period of one to one-and-half years. We will then move into Phase 2, and decide the best place for the Energy Efficiency Centre to be set up.”

Plans for the establishment of a centralised agency to drive energy efficiency align with the Omani government’s efforts to advance energy conservation, together with renewable energy development and carbon reduction objectives, as part of national policy. These goals are enshrined in the Medium Term Fiscal Sustainability Plan, covering the 2020 – 2025 timeframe, as well as the longer-term Oman 2040 Vision. But far from just being an advisory services think-tank, the proposed centre will oversee the broad spectrum of issues encompassing energy efficiency and conservation.

“As part of its mandate, the centre will establish baselines and targets for energy efficiency improvement, qualification and certification of Energy Efficiency Officers and Auditors, and so on. It will also set standards and specifications regulating the import of household and electrical appliances based on their energy consumption, so consumers know what they are buying from the energy efficiency standpoint, and so on. In effect, the centre’s job goes beyond recommending policies and procedures, but will also set challenging baselines and targets,” the Under-Secretary explained.

Also at the conference, Al Aufi underlined plans for the introduction of new guidelines mandating the appointment of dedicated Energy Efficiency Officers (EEOs) for organisations that are large consumers of electricity. Candidates for these positions must be suitably qualified and duly accredited by the proposed National Energy Efficiency Centre when it is operational. The principal remit of the EEOs is to improve energy efficiency in their respective organisations based on specific annual targets.

Also on the cards is a proposal for the introduction of a credit system – broadly based on the international carbon credit model – to incentivise energy efficiency efforts in the Sultanate. Under the proposal, a company or organisation that has achieved certifiable gains in lowering its consumption beyond an agreed target can convert these gains into credits. These credits can be traded with, or sold to, those that fail to meet their reduction targets – thus creating a marketplace for trading in Energy Efficiency credits similar to carbon credit trading, the Under-Secretary said.