Power demand in Oman’s Main Interconnected System (MIS) is expected to increase at a rate of about 9 per cent per year up to 2017.

In its annual seven-year forecast, Oman Power & Water Procurement Company (OPWP) has forecast power demand to grow from 3,500MW to 7,899MW by 2017 under a high-case scenario, 5,402MW in a low-case scenario and 6,371MW if electricity demand increases at an average rate.

Such a rate is roughly equivalent to that seen by the sultanate throughout much of the 1990s and represents a decline in rate of increase from 2008-09.

Projected power demand
Year Average demand in MIS (MW)
2010 1,924
2011e 2,176
2012f 2,367
2013f 2,542
2014f 2,753
2015f 2,991
2016f 3,225
2017f 3,464
e=Estimate. F=forecast. MIS=Main Interconnected System. Source: Oman Power & Water Procurement Company

In 2010, average demand for power in MIS increased by 7 per cent a year to 1,924MW, while peak demand increased just 2 per cent to about 3,500MW. In the preceding years, this figure was about 12-13 per cent.

In Oman’s Salalah system, peak demand is expected to increase from 356MW to 719MW by 2017. Under OPWP’s low-case scenario, demand growth is about 8 per cent a year. This results in peak demand reaching 598MW by 2017. Under high-case assumptions, demand is increased substantially by a pick-up in large industrial loads, resulting in peak demand growing at an average rate of 14 per cent per year.

With a slim demand/supply margin, Oman will need to continue to build its installed power generation capacity. The planned 1,500-2,000MW Sur independent power project (IPP) will help.

In addition, OPWP plans to develop another major power project in the MIS zone, which could be brought online as early as 2016. The facility will follow on from Sur IPP. In the event that demand growth appears to be tracking lower than the high case projection over the next year or so, it may be possible to push back this in-service date to 2017, or even 2018.

In the Salalah system, the new independent water and power project (IWPP) with a capacity of 445MW of power and 15 million gallons a day of water will help meet demand. OPWP also plans to bring 75MW of temporary generation capacity online in time for summer 2011 and has estimated that around 60MW additional power capacity will be required by 2017.

OPWP expects water demand in MIS to grow from around 163 million cubic metres in 2010 to 278 million cubic metres by 2017. In the Salalah system, OPWP expects water demand to increase from around 29.9 million cubic metres in 2010 to 50.9 million cubic metres in 2017, representing an average growth rate of 8 per cent.

OPWP has also announced that it plans to work with the government to develop a longer-term strategy for demand forecasting. This is expected to include reports that look beyond the seven-year horizon to longer-term trends.