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Harnessing wind

Green is the path to future and any move that supports green energy must be welcome. There is no doubt that the efforts of the Rural Areas Electricity Company (Raeco) go a long way in promoting the production of green energy in the Sultanate. Raeco recently took a decisive step in promoting the nation’s quest for increasing the share of green power in the energy mix by signing power purchase and electricity connection agreements with two local companies. The private players are Oman Power and Water Procurement Company and Oman Electricity Transmission Company. The agreements signed by Raeco CEO Eng. Saleh Bin Nasser Al Rumhi with OPWPC CEO Eng. Yaqoob Al Kiyumi and OETC COO Eng. Masood Al Riyami place a visionary programme on the fast track. As Al Rumhi said, the $105-million, 50 mW Dhofar wind power project does mark a significant step in the nation’s quest for green energy. The project will be located in Ftekhit area of the Wilayat of Shalem and Halaniyat islands. It promises to attain an output of 160gWh annually, helping to light up 16,000 households and eliminating the equivalent of 110,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide from the planet’s atmosphere. Raeco’s efforts at seeking out more avenues of green energy production must be appreciated as the nation’s energy requirement is sharply rising with the increase in population and expansion of the economy. As of 2016, the Sultanate’s energy requirement was 30.4 tW (tera Watt), a massive 220 per cent rise from 2005.

The government has been pursuing different programmes to increase the generation of green power so that the collective carbon footprint could be brought down. Its leaders have been pursuing a path-breaking move to encourage extensive generation of solar power by private individuals. This is expected to reduce the nation’s dependence on hydrocarbon-based power plants. The Sultanate’s high-intensity sunlight, which will allow for production of stupendous amounts of solar power, peaks at 6,000 Wh per sqm. The strikingly simple but highly effective idea has been to harness solar power falling on rooftops. For this households will be allowed to generate solar power from rooftop panels. The Authority for Electricity Regulation has appointed a global leader in technical and engineering consultation, CESI Middle East FZE, to develop a master plan for rooftop solar power generation. The Public Authroity for Electricity and Water had in a study done in collaboration with German GIZ and Fraunhofer Institute found that rooftop solar photovoltaic systems could generate almost 1.4gW of renewable power. The Sultanate’s first commercial solar power project, meanwhile, has started operation in Dhofar governorate’s Al Mazyona, producing 307kW power. The $1-million pilot project is considered a key milestone in the Raeco’s drive for producing at least 25 per cent of power from renewable sources. It augurs well for the region’s environment that the Sultanate is pioneering green initiatives through wind and solar power generation. This has much wider implication for this region, which has abundant supply of both these resources. The power production model that the Sultanate is testing and refining is worthy of emulation by other nations. The Sultanate has evolved both the technological and administrative frameworks that would help other nations.