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Oman plans fourth large-scale solar power park

Oman solar power Oriental Image/Reuters
The sixth phase has achieved the lowest levelised cost of energy of $1.6215 cents per kilowatt hour in the solar park
  • Tender issued on 500MW plant
  • More big solar parks in pipeline
  • Target of 40% renewable energy

Oman has issued a tender to develop its next large-scale solar power project just days after financial close was announced on another.

Nama Power and Water Procurement, the sole purchaser of electricity from independent power plants in Oman, has issued a request for qualification for the 500MW Ibri III project in the sultanate’s north-west region.

The tender is targeting investors for developing Oman’s fourth solar project. Developers have until February 19 to submit a statement of qualification.

The $400 million solar park will span 10 million square metres and commercial operations should start by the end of 2026, according to the tender document seen by AGBI.

Ibri II, Oman’s first 500MW solar project, was inaugurated in 2022, and other large scale solar parks are in the pipeline.

A consortium led by EDF Renewables and Korea Western Power Corporation announced last week that it had reached financial close on the Manah 1, a 500MW plant located 175km south of Muscat. 

Financing for this project was secured through an equity and loan scheme from local and international financial institutions, including the Export-Import Bank of Korea, Société Générale and Oman Bank Muscat.

Once commissioned, the Manah 1 project will be able to power more than 50,000 Omani households with clean energy, while offsetting more than 700,000 tonnes of CO2 per year.

The project is one of two grid-connected solar projects each of around 500MW, that will be built side-by-side at Manah. These twin schemes, due to start in 2025, will roughly treble Oman’s renewable energy capacity to around 1550MW, up from around 550MW. 

Oman solar power IbriReuters/Anadolu Agency
Ibri II, Oman’s first 500MW solar project, opened in 2022
Renewables push

Oman is targeting a roughly 40% contribution from renewables to its electricity requirements by 2040.

The sultanate has led GCC countries in the development of independent water and power plants since 1994, when it launched its first independent power producer. 

Other projects include a wind farm in Dhofar, 11 solar-diesel hybrid facilities, and the Sahim initiative, which installs small-scale solar panels on residential and commercial buildings.

Oman is also planning to build a hydrogen-centric economy by 2040, with an annual production of green and blue hydrogen of approximately 30GW by 2040.

The hydrogen rainbow

  • Green hydrogen is produced on a CO2-neutral basis through water electrolysis. 
  • Turquoise hydrogen is created when natural gas is broken down into hydrogen and solid carbon with the help of methane pyrolysis.
  • Blue hydrogen is made from the steam reduction of natural gas. 
  • Grey hydrogen is obtained by steam reforming fossil fuels such as natural gas or coal. 
  • Sometimes other colours are ascribed to hydrogen, based on how it is produced. For red, pink and violet hydrogen, the electrolysers are driven by nuclear power. 
  • Yellow hydrogen is hydrogen produced from a mixture of renewable energies and fossil fuels. 
  • Hydrogen that is a waste product of other chemical processes is referred to as white hydrogen, while the use of coal as a fuel produces brown hydrogen.

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