We are one of the pioneers in the area of renewable energy in Oman. Renewable energy is very costly to construct, but is also very desirable. The company’s first initiative from the government was to produce renewable energy via six projects. We will soon commence the first pilot project in al-Mazyunah, in the Dhofar Governorate. This will start with about 3 MW in installed capacity. The first pilot will be about 380 kW of capacity to test the technology of the solar system here in the country. We launched this after the government gave us the green light to go ahead with renewable energy. We launched six projects and then public interest called for investment in more than 30 new projects. This gave us a very strong indication that the tendency toward investment in renewable energy in Oman is very strong.
Hamed Bin Salim Al Maghderi
CEO, Rural Areas Electricity Company
CEO, Electricity Holding Company
Electricity Holding Company was established as a result of the laws that restructured the electricity industry in Oman, which basically created three functions: the operation function, the regulatory function of the industry, and then the Public Authority for Electricity and Water, which is the policy maker in the electricity industry. The sector is divided between the companies that actually do the operations, companies that distribute and supply, companies that transmit electricity, and companies that generate electricity. The model for generation in Oman is that there is a single buyer for electricity and water from the market and from private entities, which in turn sell it to the distribution companies, which then sell it to consumers.
Zahir Abdullah Al Abri
General Manager, Mazoon Electricity Company
Mazoon is one of the government-owned companies that came into existence as a result of the restructuring of the electricity sector and its related water services. It has a license to distribute and supply electricity in four governorates, namely al-Dakhiliyah, ash-Sharqiyah North, ash-Sharqiyah South, and South Batinah. We have approximately 300,000 customers, and there is high growth in terms of new customers alongside high growth in demand for electricity. Mazoon is keen to adopt new technology and invest in infrastructure to meet the growing demand for electricity in the country, whether it is industrial, commercial, or domestic.
Mansoor Talib Ali Al Hinai
COO-Supply, Muscat Electricity Distribution Company (MEDC)
Electricity demand has been increasing year on year. OPWP undertakes long-term generation planning and publishes a seven-year statement. This statement includes the identification of new IPP/IWPP projects to be competitively tendered and developed by private sector entities, in order to meet the future power generation and water desalination requirements of the Sultanate of Oman. OPWP have managed to increase the generation capacity massively in the last six to seven years, which has contributed to servicing this increased demand. Servicing the demand side from the other angle is another challenge that the Muscat Electricity Distribution Company (MEDC) is currently working on. The electricity sector is currently in the process of drafting an energy policy for the whole sector, which hopes to answer many of the questions that we currently have. We have several initiatives that have been performing during the summer time when the peak load is picking up to manage demand.
Johan van Kerrebroeck
CEO, SMN Power Holding Company
Our plant at Rusayl has 665 MW in capacity, Barka has 678 MW, and the water capacity at Barka is 120 million liters of desalinated water a day. If the plants run at full power, they require substantial amounts of fuel; hence, the importance of a guaranteed stable gas supply. At SMNPH, gas supply is secured via long-term contract with the Ministry of Oil and Gas, which relies on indigenous gas reserves and a reliable gas pipe network. Moreover, these long-term contracts are solid and well respected by the contracting parties, the latter being paramount for an investor in capital-intensive assets. Equipment at the plants is sourced from reputed companies to preempt as much as possible quality issues, problems with after-sales service and availability of spare parts, for example. Open-cycle plants combust the fuel in a gas turbine, whereas combined-cycle plants add an additional energy recovery unit (Heat Recovery Boiler) at the outlet of the gas turbine, to recover the substantial energy from the flue gases.
Ahmed Bin Saleh Al Jahdhami
CEO, Oman Power & Water Procurement Company (OPWP)
As Oman is a fast developing country, there is huge growth, so there’s going to be a need for the government to focus more on energy efficiency and conservation. The public authorities have already started some demand-side efficiency initiatives because it’s not sustainable to always be chasing demand; you have to try to manage it. Our key challenge will be fuel diversity. We have to look at renewables and sources other than gas. Almost all of our plants operate on gas. We also have challenges regarding desalination when it comes to water. There are technical challenges when it comes to the water security aspect of it as well. We will focus more on utilizing beach wells rather than open intakes to balance that. We will mostly be concentrating on assisting and advising the government to secure the buy-in for renewable energy, and looking at the key issue of fuel-mix policy in general. Energy conservation, energy efficiency, and water conservation are going to be the key debates because almost 90% of our water is from desalination, which is very expensive.
Ahmed Bin Saif Khamis Al-Mazrouy
General Manager, Majan Electricity Company (MJEC)
Our customers number around 162,000, and they come from a variety of sectors: residential, industrial, commercial, agriculture, tourism, fishing, and the government. Each of these segments has a different tariff rate. Residential and governmental are the same; they go through the slab tariff, which means after a certain amount of consumption the tariff will increase. This is designed to promote energy saving. In the industrial sector, we have winter and summer tariffs. In the commercial segment, we have a flat tariff. The agriculture, tourism, and fishing industries have a slab tariff, which is specifically designed to encourage these three segments to flourish in business. Our biggest demand through the distribution network recorded around 904 MW in 2012; however, with the major customers we have already in fact exceeded 1 GW.
CEO, Voltamp Energy
We are ready for the demand for power transformers, but with distribution transformers our capacity is limited. We are restructuring our workshops and trying to boost productivity, hopefully by 30%. This is why we are more interested in mergers and acquisitions currently rather than wholesale expansion. If you look at the whole MENA region, the electricity grids are not yet integrated fully. There are many grids working independently. For example, in Saudi Arabia there are more than five grids in the country. GCC countries are investing in grid inter-connections and expansions. This will provide us with a huge opportunity to supply the required transformers. Renewables will come, and we are keen to pursue this. The costs will need to be lowered, however, and subsidies will be necessary. Oman now has a sizeable local population and a good education system. The country is getting a lot of new industry, too. I expect energy demand to increase by 10%-14% every year.