Petroleum Development Oman (PDO) signed a contract with Marubeni Consortium to build and operate the first solar photovoltaic independent power producer (IPP) at Amin field. The event was held at PDO’s Knowledge Oman on Wednesday.
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The company said the rate showed the huge potential for the country to produce solar energy at commercially attractive prices.
The desert facility will be the first-of-its-kind in Oman and will also be the world’s first utility-scale solar project to have an oil and gas company as the sole wholesale buyer of electricity.
Speaking to Muscat Daily, Mohammed Nasser bin Saeed al Aghbari, director of Electrical Power Systems at PDO said,
“Construction will start in January 2019 and the site will span 4sq km, the size of 480 football pitches. The installation will consist of more than 335,000 solar PV panels, producing enough energy to power 15,000 homes. The project will be structured as an IPP under the terms of the power purchase agreement for a period of 23 years from the scheduled commercial operation date, which is planned for May 2020. The consortium will build, own and operate the facility and then transfer it back to PDO.
“The plant is expected to introduce an equivalent fuel saving of 70.5mn m3 of gas annually, resulting in a total saving of US$17mn a year through the use of solar power as an alternative to natural gas. It will also reduce overall carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by around 137,121 tonnes annually, the equivalent of taking 23,000 large cars off the road,” said Aghbari.
Speaking at the formal contract award ceremony at Mina al Fahal, Raoul Restucci, managing director, PDO said,
“The proposed tariff is one of the lowest in the history of solar IPPs worldwide so far and underlines the significant opportunity for Oman to produce low-cost energy using solar power. The electrical power produced will feed into our transmission system and contribute to off-setting the use of natural gas for power generation and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”
The project includes the design, procurement, construction, commissioning, financing and operation and maintenance of the solar photovoltaic plant with a 100MW capacity and associated infrastructure.
Toshihiro Maruo, senior officer of Marubeni Corporation’s Power Business Division, said,
“We are very excited to take a lead developer’s role in this amazing project. We have recently announced a new corporate strategy confirming our intention to double our current capacity of renewable energy so that it will make up at least 20 per cent of our portfolio within the next five years.”
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