Oman’s first commercial-scale wind farm project award likely in Q1 2016
By Conrad Prabhu — MUSCAT: Dec 27: A contract for the establishment of Oman’s maiden commercial-scale wind farm project is now likely in the first quarter of 2016, according to a key official of the Rural Areas Electricity Company (RAECO) which along with Masdar of the United Arab Emirates, is jointly developing this ground-breaking venture. Khalil al Mantheri, who is the section head for renewable energy at the wholly government-owned utility, said the selection process leading to the keenly awaited contract is yet to be completed. “The evaluation process is almost complete, but a decision on the winner is yet to be finalised,” Al Mantheri said. “An award may be likely in the first quarter of 2016,” he added in comments to the Observer.
RAECO had earlier revealed that four international companies are in contention for an Engineering-Procurement-Construction (EPC) contract to implement a 50 megawatt (MW) capacity wind-based renewable energy project at Thamrait in Dhofar Governorate. RAECO, a wholly owned subsidiary of The Electricity Holding Company (Nama Group), along with Abu Dhabi’s renewable energy flagship Masdar, are 50:50 joint venture partners in the project. Depending upon the successful bidder and type of technology used in the project, the number of wind turbines proposed to be installed as part of the wind farm will vary between 17 and 25. Generation capacities will vary from 2 – 3.5 MW per wind turbine.
Significantly, an international operator will be appointed to run the wind farm, said Al Mantheri. Also as part of the operator’s remit, a number of Omani staff will be trained in various technical areas encompassing the operation and maintenance of the facility, he said, adding that the training support will be provided during the first three years of plant operation. Also as part of the EPC contract, a roughly 12 km long overhead line will be constructed to link the wind farm with the Salalah Grid, the official stated. Around 16,000 homes will receive their energy needs from this ambitious initiative when it comes into operation in 2017. Austrian-based international firm ILF Consulting Engineers is providing consulting and engineering services in the establishment of the venture.