Oman puts solar project on hold

20 April 2011

Project sidelined due to cabinet reshuffle

Plans to develop a large-scale solar project in Oman are on hold following a complete reshuffle of the sultanate’s cabinet.

Public Authority for Electricity and Water (PAEW) completed a study for the large-scale project and submitted the results in February.

“The government is reviewing PAEW’s proposal and has indicated that it will need some time to consider PAEW’s very detailed proposals. In the meantime, Oman Power & Water Procurement (OPWP) Company will continue to progress work to support the implementation of the project,” according to a government statement

“I think that it will go ahead but it’s not clear when. We have a lot of new cabinet ministers … There will need to be a couple of steps taken backwards before we can take steps forwards again,” according to a source at OPWP.

However, the decision to push the project back may offer some benefits. “A delay may not necessarily be a bad thing as solar prices are going down,” says the OPWP source. “A delay could mean that you could get your 200MW solar project at half of the price. This may be the silver lining.”

If the project is revived, it will likely use a combination of photovoltaic solar and either concentrated solar power (CSP) or tower technology and will have a capacity of 50-200MW.

The project originates from a ministerial committee established in 2009 to oversee renewable energy developments in Oman following a study completed in 2007.

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