A senior delegation of government and business dignitaries has witnessed first-hand the steady progress being made in the development of the 50-megawatt (MW) Dhofar Wind Farm, the GCC’s first utility-scale wind farm.
Visiting the project site in the southern Dhofar Governorate of Oman yesterday were Hamdan Ali Al Hinai, Chairman of the Oman Power and Water Procurement Company (OPWP), Eng Yaqoob Alkyumi, Chief Executive Officer of OPWP, Eng Saleh Al Rumhi, CEO of Tanweer, Mohamed Jameel Al Ramahi, CEO of Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company (‘Masdar’), Omar Al Wahaibi, CEO of MANA Holding, Dr Manar Al-Moneef, General Manager, MENA and Turkey of GE Renewable Energy, and high-ranking representatives from Gopa-intec (PMC), TSK, and Welayat Shaleem.
The landmark wind farm, which is fully funded by the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development (ADFD), the leading national entity for development aid, reflects Oman’s commitment to diversify its energy sources. The project is being implemented by Masdar on behalf of ADFD, through an EPC consortium of GE Renewable Energy and TSK. On completion in the third quarter of this year, the wind farm is expected to generate enough electricity to supply 16,000 homes, equivalent to 7 per cent of the Dhofar Governorate’s total power demand.
Construction began in the first quarter of 2018. Four of the project’s 13 wind turbines have now been installed, and virtually all of the project’s infrastructure has been completed. The remaining wind turbines will be in place by the end of March, before being connected to the grid. Project handover is scheduled for Q3 2019.
Eng Yaqoob Alkyumi, CEO of the Oman Power and Water Procurement Company (OPWP), said: “Oman is very rich in renewable energy resources and OPWP is determined to exploit the learnings from this project, and its previous IPP experience, to expedite energy generation from such resources.”
OPWP will be the off-taker, or purchaser of the generated power, from the Rural Areas Electricity Company of Oman (Tanweer), which is responsible for operating the wind power plant upon completion.
Speaking on the occasion, His Excellency Mohammed Saif Al Suwaidi, Director General of ADFD, said: “To contribute in achieving the strategic priorities of the Omani government, ADFD is delighted to work alongside world-class stakeholders including Masdar, OPWP, Tanweer, GE and TSK. As the financiers of this strategic project, ADFD is proud of the steady and timely progress of the 50 MW wind farm in Oman.”
Commenting on ADFD’s role in financing socio-economic development projects for more than four decades, His Excellency Al Suwaidi added: “To drive the objectives of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), ADFD has provided about AED2.7 billion in renewable energy projects all over the world. Not only are these projects stimulating economic growth, they are also supporting governments in realizing their national priorities.”
Eng. Saleh Al Rumhi, CEO of Tanweer, said: “Today’s site visit marks an important milestone in the development of the country’s first wind power plant, and Oman’s sustainable energy transition. Supporting the diversification of Oman’s energy mix and economy is our top priority, in line with Oman’s sustainability goals, which aims to generate 10 per cent of its electricity from renewable sources by 2025.”
"Oman and the region possess high wind and solar potential. The Dhofar project is one of many initiatives to harness renewable energy in Oman. The project is progressing well and has been a unique collaborate effort between Tanweer, local stakeholders, and our international partners. Tanweer will own the assets and will be responsible for operating the site, including dispatching the energy to the Oman grid. We are focusing on transferring knowledge to our staff and local teams, to keep pace with today’s fast-moving technology. We are also progressing with other renewable initiatives, including adding photovoltaic capacity at 11 of our existing power plants,” he added.
GE Renewable Energy is providing the project’s 3.8MW wind turbines that are tailor-made for hot and arid desert conditions, while TSK is responsible for the remainder of the wind farm’s infrastructure and electrical transmission facilities connecting the plant to the grid.
Mohamed Jameel Al Ramahi, CEO of Masdar, said: “We are proud to expand our renewable energy portfolio into Oman, working alongside Abu Dhabi Fund for Development, Oman Power and Water Procurement Company, Tanweer, and all our partners, and look forward to delivering with them a world-class project.
“Oman’s bold decision to invest in utility-scale wind energy will give further encouragement to other countries in the region seeking to expand the role of renewable energy in diversifying their power mix, and strengthen the reputation of renewables as a reliable provider of cost-effective clean power. Furthermore, it will underscore the positive socio-economic impacts that come with clean energy, including job creation, technology transfer and skills development fostering sustainable growth in the wider economy.”
Power demand in the Dhofar Governorate, the largest of Oman’s 11 Governorates, is growing at around 10 per cent annually. Besides helping to meet this demand, the Dhofar Wind farm will offset an estimated 110,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions annually, while reducing reliance on natural gas for domestic power generation.
Joaquin Garcia Rico, CEO of TSK, said: "We are very proud to have been awarded this important project in OMAN, a country where we have found great people and impressive opportunities to work together with local companies and share our knowledge and technology with them. We are also delighted to have a client like Masdar, a company that is contributing to improving energy infrastructure and living standards in different countries.”
Dr Manar Al Moneef, General Manager, Middle East, North Africa, and Turkey, GE Renewable Energy, said: “Wind energy has tremendous potential in Oman and we are delighted to contribute to the country’s essential renewable energy ambitions. We are thrilled to see the first turbines up at the Dhofar wind farm and witness the value of our collaboration with Masdar. What we are seeing today is a first step toward our common goal to generate abundant amounts of renewable energy in the region.”
Further illustrating the positive community impact of renewable energy development, Masdar is building a solar-powered water treatment plant in the nearby city of Fatkhi, as well as a children’s playground. The projects are also expected to be ready by September.
Yesterday’s site visit comes less than a month after Saudi Arabia announced that it had selected EDF Renewables and Masdar to develop the Kingdom’s first wind farm, the 400MW Dumat Al Jandal wind project.
The total generating capacity of wind energy projects either delivered or under development, in which Masdar is a partner, is around 2 gigawatts (GW).