Muscat: Oman’s largest and one of its newest solar power plants is capable of providing clean electricity to 50,000 homes, marking a big step in the country’s efforts to move towards renewable and sustainable sources of energy.
The Ibri II Solar PV plant, which is in the governorate of Al Dhahirah, was officially inaugurated yesterday under the patronage of Sayyid Hamoud bin Faisal Al Busaidi, the Minister of Interior.
Operational since August 2021, the plant features 1.4 million solar panels spread over an area of 13 million square metres, and was built at a cost of OMR155 million.
“With approximately 500 megawatts (MW) capacity, the Ibri Solar Plant is among the key energy transformation projects,” said the Ministry of Economy in a statement.
“It will also enable the realisation of the 10th Five Year Plan’s priorities to increase renewable energy proportionate to 30 percent of the maximum load by 2030.” The project was led by Oman Power and Water Procurement Company, an arm of Nama Group, through contracts with a group of GCC investment firms led by ACWA Power, Gulf Investment Corporation (GIC) and the Alternative Energy Projects Company (AEPC) to set up, own and operate the plant.
Mohammed Abunayyan, chairman of ACWA Power, said, “The project will peak in productivity through the generation of power sufficient for supplying 50,000 homes with electricity and cutting down CO2 emissions by 340,000 tonnes a year.”
The opening of the solar plant also marks another step taken under Oman Vision 2040’s plans for renewable energy. Projects such as this will help achieve balance between economic development and environmental sustainability.
The plant was built under the strategic objective of building effective, balanced, and resilient ecosystems, while at the same time protecting the environment, and ensuring the sustainability of natural resources to help support the national economy.
The project also contributes towards two key areas of priorities for Oman: encouraging private sector investment and international cooperation, and promoting a sustainable management of the environment and natural resources.
The first criterion aims towards creating “a competitive business environment that attracts investment, where the government plays a regulatory role coupled with successful, efficient and seamless management,” said the Ministry of Economy statement.
It also looks to promote “an empowered and competitive private sector that leads the economy, while taking into consideration social and environmental dimensions.” In terms of environmental sustainability and natural resources, it helps meet four objectives: achieving a balance between environmental, economic, and social requirement and applies the rules of sustainable development; a green and circular economy that responds to national needs and is in line with global trends; sustainable use of natural resources and wealth and investing them in a way that achieves high added value; and using renewable energy sources, investing in multiple sources of electricity, and rationalisation of consumption to achieve energy security.
The project constitutes an authentic form of partnership between the public and private sectors. It embodies the Sultanate of Oman’s ability to attract direct foreign investments.
With inputs from Oman News Agency