The Authority is currently revising the existing regulatory framework in order to facilitate the adoption of rooftop solar PV by customers in Oman. The revision includes economic, legal and technical aspects as follows:
- Allowing the distribution companies to act as agents for OPWP (the current single buyer of electricity) to buy rooftop PV-generated electricity from consumers
- To establish minimum technical standards for rooftop PV
- To allow a net metering mechanism to compensate for electricity generated by rooftop PV panels.
The new framework is expected to be in place by early 2017.
Policies expecting approval from Council of Ministers: 1. Economic Gas Pricing: For immediate implementation of RE projects that are found economically and technically feasible when compared with the international price of gas. 2. National Energy Strategy to 2040:: The study was completed in 2015 and recommended that around 10% of Oman’s generation mix should come from renewable energy sources (RES)—primarily onshore wind and solar—by 2025. Preparations are presently underway for large-scale grid-connected RE projects by reviewing assessment methodologies and technical requirements, and through active discussions with potential developers.
Initiated by the Public Authority for Electricity and Water (PAEW), the Oman Wind Atlas Project has the objective of identifying a list of sites around the country considered optimal for wind power projects. The study would support the initial stages in compiling a nationwide wind development roadmap for the country. The wind resource study presented the wind speed variations across Oman at a height of 80 m and at a horizontal resolution of 5 km carried out using a full physics model. The report identified 15 of the most promising sites for wind energy production in the country based on a multi-criteria analysis method, considering key factors such as predicted average wind speed and terrain complexity. The shortlisted sites were estimated to have the lowest Cost of Energy (CoE) while also favouring a sustainable development, and minimizing environmental and social impacts. A total of 4 sites were selected for further investigation: Sadah, Shalim, Duqm and Jalan. The Wind Resource Assessment Program study (WRAP) specified a future wind monitoring plan for each of the proposed sites with the aim of collecting robust wind speed data and producing bankable energy assessments. In line with the recommendations, a wind monitoring plan at each of the proposed sites is presently ongoing.
The Authority confirmed a rural areas policy in February 2013 that included the following: 1. A Requirement to Include Renewable Energy Component in Article (87) Applications RAEC are now required to include a component of renewable energy technology (solar or wind) in each project for which a request for Article (87) electrification funding is submitted to the Authority. If no renewable energy component is included in a funding application, RAEC is required to explain why, and provide the Authority with supporting analysis to confirm that renewable technology is either not technically feasible, or not economic for that project. 2. A Requirement to Evaluate Projects Using ‘Economic’ Fuel Cost Assumptions The cost of electricity supplied to RAEC customers, and RAEC subsidy, will for each Article (87) funding request be evaluated using estimates of the economic cost of diesel fuel and an assumed profile of fuel cost escalation, in accordance with guidance provided by the Authority.
The Public Authority for Electricity and Water (PAEW) commissioned consultants to identify and recommend potential locations in Oman that are suitable for the development of a large-scale solar power plant with a capacity ranging from 50 MW to 200 MW. The site selection criteria included: solar insolation, land area requirements, topography, water supply, power evacuation, and fuel source, distance to roads, distance to metropolitan areas, geotechnical constraints and environmental issues. Twenty-three sites within these regions were identified as having potential for the development of a large-scale solar power plant. The top two sites identified were in Adam and Manah, and the third in Ibri. Subsequently monitoring stations were set up in both of Manah and Adam to gather reliable localised data. The data collected includes: Direct Normal Irradiance (DNI), Global Horizontal Irradiance (GHI), Diffuse Horizontal Irradiance (DHI), Atmospheric Pressure, dust, dry bulb temperature, precipitation, relative humidity, wind speed, wind direction, visibility, ground temperature, and soil temperature.
The Authority immediately proceeded in implementing the pilot project recommendation and invited developers to submit pilot project proposals for rural locations supplied by Rural Areas Electricity Company (RAEC) diesel generation. 35 proposals were received from 12 local and international developers with a potential aggregate capacity of around 48.7 MW. Proposals included wind, solar PV and CSP projects. The Authority issued a Regulatory Statement in April 2010 confirming a shortlist of six renewable energy pilot projects.
In 2008 the Authority commissioned a Consultant to establish an overview of the potential of various renewable energy resources in Oman; identify the technical and economic barriers to their use; and recommend a way forward to utilizing renewable energy technologies. The study would also provide an evaluation of the various financial mechanisms that could be considered for facilitating the use of renewable energy resources in the country. Study Results Solar density was found to be among the highest in the world and therefore significant scope for developing solar energy resources throughout Oman. Significant wind energy potential was found in the southern part of Oman with wind speeds comparable to inland sites in Europe that sustain large numbers of wind turbines. The study found that the potentials for Biogas, Geothermal and wave energy were all limited for electricity production, although may be feasible in the future. Study Recommendations The first recommendation was the immediate implementation of small scale renewable energy projects, particularly in rural areas. Pilot projects would help demonstrate technical and economic performance of technologies under local conditions, and facilitate the transfer of knowledge and knowhow to relevant institutions in Oman. A second recommendation was that if solar and wind resources are to be utilised on a large scale in Oman as the study found they could, new policies and funding mechanisms will be needed to support and encourage renewable investment. The final recommendation was to continue supporting the implementation of renewable energy projects through further research.