The Research Council of Oman, Saudi Arabia, has approved a budget to fund studies on renewable energy in the Sultanate. The study will be conducted by Sultan Qaboos University (SQU) in partnership with the ministries of environment and climate affairs, transport and communications and the regulatory authority for electricity, along with leading international research institutions from the United States. Last summer, the Research Council agreed to support 53 projects in fields such as healthcare, education and telecommunications.
Established in Muscat in 2005, the Research Council has generally given priority to oil and gas which accounts for 25% of Omani GDP. The Sultanate is now looking to invest resources in the field of solar energy to meet domestic demand for electricity obtained through renewables. Wind energy is currently being used in the mountainous areas of Dhofar. The University of Dhofar recently received a scholarship from the Scientific Research Council for a project to use solar energy for medical sterilisation.
“The project, which is currently in progress is significantly important to accelerate the establishment of pilot projects to produce electricity and energy for the future,” said Dr Adel Gastli, project principle investigator at SQU.
Saudi Arabia is currently making the most of its location on the sun belt with many installations having been agreed and some completed, therefore it is equally important for the Sultanate to speed up the establishment of pilot projects for production of electricity. Once implemented, the electricity regulatory commission will adopt several measures and strategies to establish six pilot projects on solar energy and wind power production capacity of up to 8MW in several wilayats in the country.
Government officials have stressed the importance of speeding up the work to develop both frameworks and necessary laws to provide practical measures towards encouraging stations to generate electricity by means of renewables, particularly solar energy.
The study will put emphasis on accuracy and will focus on energy planning, investment and research consulting. Likewise, it will reflect on the cost and economic feasibility as well as the development of competencies and expertise to raise awareness.