Oman’s maiden foray into large scale renewable energy development has generated mammoth international interest. A record 50-plus firms have so far signalled their desire to participate in a competitive tender for advisory services linked to the planned establishment of a major solar power plant in the Sultanate. Several leading players associated with solar energy development, as well as business conglomerates, consultants and financial institutions, are among the unprecedented line-up of firms that have expressed interest in the tender. The deadline set by the Tender Board for the submission of bid offers is May 25, 2009.
The Public Authority for Electricity and Water (PAEW) has been tasked by the government to study the feasibility, as well as oversee the implementation of a large-scale Solar Power Project (SPP) in the Sultanate. The project, billed as “strategic and urgent”, is among a broad range of initiatives that are being supported by a Ministerial Committee set up last year to oversee renewable energy development in the Sultanate. As a first step, the PAEWPAEW plans to appoint a qualified consultant to assist in the realisation of the government’s goal of setting up a solar power generation facility in Oman.
According to officials, the Solar Power Project is envisaged as a privately financed venture guided by the same principles that govern the establishment of Independent Water and Power Projects (IWPPs). It will be implemented within the framework of existing legislation in Oman, and the Sector Law in particular. A key part of the consultant’s brief is to provide an overview of existing solar power projects, as well as details of ownership structures and commercial arrangements with regard to existing operations around the world.