OPTIMIZING ENERGY SOURCES

Oman 2020 | SUSTAINABILITY | B2B

Renewable energy sources, along with IoT-based technology, is radically changing Oman's energy landscape.

Abdullah Al Badi
ABDULLAH AL BADI
CEO
National Energy Center
Steven J. Moss
STEVEN J. MOSS
CEO
Glasspoint Solar

How is today's technology impacting both the sector and your growth?
ABDULLAH AL BADI The IoT-enabled devices we are applying can capture many aspects, such as the backflow of water and leakages, from our premises or the customer's location. If there is no water in the lines, some of the meters can come back online with pressure, which is calculated later. As such, there are many advantages for both the public authority and for customers. As opposed to receiving a monthly bill processed manually, with potential inaccuracies, the whole system is run online. This means we provide data every 15 minutes for industrial customers and one hour for domestic customers, allowing clients to see their exact consumption. This will help the Public Authority of Water plan for expansion and determine the main factors for non-revenue water, which is extremely high due to leaks, commercial law, or technical issues. We are implementing the same system for electricity and other areas. One needs to put the right infrastructure in place and understand the behavior of the customer before identifying the issues to understand the losses.

STEVEN J. MOSS In more and more locations, solar steam injection for enhanced oil recovery (EOR) is proving to achieve the required cost-competitiveness with gas. Extracting oil in Oman is often more complex than other locations in the region, requiring an acute focus on cost competitiveness. It provides an excellent springboard for our technology to be applied elsewhere too. That leads to our last focus, namely the deployment of our next-generation technology that replaces our glass house with a film house structure constructed from advanced proven materials. This homegrown technology will lower capital and operating costs considerably and have the widest market applicability across a myriad of industrial heat applications across the world's sun belt. In Oman, that includes industrial zones and the exciting potential in the mining industry. This implies a national strategy looking at how our technology can be coupled with power generation solutions in industrial zones and an international strategy looking at how our technology can be applied to the mining industry and other energy intensive industries. Expanding into the mining sector is a natural next step for GlassPoint. Many mining activities are in remote places with limited and expensive gas supplies and costly electricity, so using our technology for renewable combined heat and power is a win-win.

How long will it take until banks see the value of IoT without equity coming from funds?
AAB For banks, this is a new subject so it will be a challenge. They will accept it with either high interest rates or with many conditions. In our case, we evaluated excellent proposals from almost all the banks in the country when it comes to IoT, as it was an attractive model for most, and we received attractive proposals from local banks. Currently, one of our main projects with the public authority was financed up to 80% at an excellent interest rate. Regarding renewables, it is slightly difficult for banks to accept such models because they are long-term projects, and unless there is clear government involvement, there are conditions to be filled for local investors and developers to finance these projects.

What is the ideal relationship between hydrocarbons and renewables in the medium term?
SJM Renewable energy is not a competitor to fossil fuels; rather, it is an enabler that allows countries like Oman to make the best decision about economic diversification at the right pace, without rushing. Extending oil generation over a number of years is a safer way of providing a solid revenue platform to the government, while using green technology is a sensible way of meeting one's renewable obligations in terms of CO2 emissions. In a way, renewables are a hedging tool that supports an economy based on energy confluence. At the same time, monetizing CO2 emissions is becoming a reality around the world. There are strong upward movements in European pricing, and bilateral agreements between European nations and Middle Eastern nations are coming to life. For a player like Glasspoint, it would mean bringing large additional revenues from those CO2 credits obtained via our technology to our customers and governments. Right now, we are aggressively working with our customers, partners, and relevant authorities to advance the environmental and economic benefit of this potential.