Solar Energy Perspectives Across Borders: Focus on Oman – Webinar Highlights
29 Mar 2021

Photo Credit: Joseph Nader

MESIA’s last webinar series for Q1 was held on March 10, 2021 to address the impact of the massive disruptions of 2020 on the Sultanate of Oman and address its growth besides some challenges. 

Several distinguished speakers from across the solar value chain were in attendance: Dr. Hassan Qasem, CEO of Alternative Energy Project Co, Dr. Firas Balasmeh, CEO at FB Group, Anup Isaac, Country Director -UAE & Oman- at Yellow Door Energy, Chrysovalantis Mikrommatis, Solar Business Lead at DNV and Claire Zheng, Business Development Manager – Middle East – at LONGI. The moderator was Dr. Sawsan Riyami, Senior Expert at the Ministry of Higher Education, Research and Innovation in Oman and Renewable Energy Cluster leader at EJAAD. The webinar was sponsored by MESIA members, LONGI and Huawei.

The discussion focused on Oman’s current and future position in the market. With a set Energy Master Plan for 2040, the country is aiming to produce 30% of its energy from renewables. Dr. Hassan commenting “Oman has a very clear strategy. Following this strategy will lead to achieving its target.. Nevertheless, the strategy adoption has been delayed due to many different factors”. The three main categories to deploy the Omani strategy include the injection of mega scale power plant projects, C&I and small-scale distribution projects. 

  • Mega scale projects are handled by OPWP. Today, Ibri I project is very close to COD and Manah 1 and 2 are progressing. Delays in those projects were very acceptable due to the pandemic and the current market situation, but still on time. 
  • C&I and small distribution market are enabled by the private sector. Sahim I and II initiatives and other projects, hybrid project for example, have not been empowered or enabled on a full scale. Dr Hassan commenting on the “unreadiness of the market to move towards this direction”, with projects not financially viable, but most recently, the Sultanate has announced tariff changes and it is expected that projects shall move ahead.

Anup Isaac Country Director of UAE & Oman at Yellow Door Energy has also agreed that tariff changes will drive the country to a brighter future in the C&I sector. In Oman, opportunities are increasing. With the current “surge in the industrial sector, adding over 10% to the GDP of Oman”, foreign companies are planning to provide solar solutions to C&I businesses.  

The discussion highlighted key aspects on the Omani grid availability, capacity as well as instability. Dr. Hassan highlighted that many neighboring countries have committed to Net Zero emission targets and shall provide 100% renewable energy by 2050. He noted that it is important for countries to move into the next stage of deploying storage solutions to reach that goal. A mix of energy solutions is the key to reliable energy. Furthermore, Oman has a unique situation in the gulf. The country enables a spot market and projects that are implemented in Oman are under a fixed contract rather than an IPP which is very beneficial for storage project deployment.  

New opportunities for private sector involvement at all levels are expected in Oman, including renewable energy, generation, transmission and distribution. The country is moving ahead with its ambition towards its set goals and many firms are already looking into investing and developing solar projects.