Industry Updates

RFP For Sultanate's Next Mega Solar Project in Q2 2020

A Request for Proposals (RfP) for the Sultanate’s second utility-scale renewable energy based Independent Power Project (IPP) — a mega 1,200 MW capacity solar photovoltaic (PV) scheme — is expected to be floated in the second quarter of 2020, according to a senior executive of Oman Power and Water Procurement Company (OPWP) — the nation’s sole procurer and offtaker of new power and water capacity.

The giant scheme — which will comprise two separate projects, dubbed ‘Manah 1 Sohar IPP’ and ‘Manah II Sohar IPP’ — will be awarded to two separate investors for simultaneous development on a 1200 hectare site in the Wilayat of Manah in Al Dakhiliyah Governorate. Investments in the combined project — the largest solar PV project in the Sultanate to date — are estimated at $800 million.

“The Manah project will enter the RfP stage sometime in the second quarter of next year,” said Brian Wood, Senior Advisor — OPWP. “The capacity will range between 1,000 to 1,200 megawatts, split between two awards of approximately equal size. They will be developed on a big plot shared roughly in half between two different contractors.”

Wood made the announcement during a presentation at the Oman Sustainable Energy and Technology Summit, organised by White Paper Summits at the Crowne Plaza Hotel last week. Giving an update on OPWP’s renewable energy development plan, the official noted that the country’s first large-scale solar PV project — a 500 MW capacity scheme — is currently under development at Ibri in Dhahirah Governorate. The Ibri II Solar IPP, as it is called, is set for commercial launch in June 2022, he said. OPWP — a subsidiary of Nama Group (The Electricity Holding Company) — sees a bright future for renewables in the Sultanate, according to Wood. Renewable projects procured by OPWP alone will account for 16 per cent of the country’s total electricity output by 2025. A further 2–5 per cent will come from other development channels, he noted, adding that renewable energy projects will account for 30 per cent of generation capacity by 2030.

OPWP’s renewable energy development plan also envisions contributions from wind and waste-to-energy (WTE) projects. The state-owned utility aims to procure around 2,200 MW of renewable based IPPs within the Main Interconnected System (MIS), covering the northern half of the Sultanate, by 2025.