The Oman Power and Water Procurement Company (OPWP) — the sole procurer of new electricity and water capacity under the Sector Law — is mulling plans to set up the first-ever solar thermal project to support the future energy requirements of the Special Economic Zone (SEZ) at Duqm.
The concentrated solar power plant will only proceed if a clean coal Independent Power Project (IPP) proposed at Duqm does not get the government’s green-light before the end of this year.
Envisaged in lieu of the clean coal power plant is a 600 MW solar thermal project — also known as a Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) project, OPWP said in its newly published 7-Year Outlook Statement spanning the 2019-2025 timeframe.
Concentrated solar power plants use thousands of parabolic trough mirrors to convert the sun’s energy into high-temperature heat which is then channelled through a conventional generator to produce electricity. The proposed venture will also include thermal storage to keep operating after sundown.
Electricity demand is projected to grow at a blistering 23 per cent per annum over the next five years in line with expectations of strong investment inflows into the SEZ — the largest of its kind in the Middle East. The SEZ and its environs are currently served by a 67 MW diesel-powered plant operated by the Rural Areas Electricity Company (RAECO), according to Oman Observer.