Sites mapped for Oman wind power

September 2015

Oman has identified 15 sites it considers suitable for setting up wind power stations.

The sultanate’s Public Authority for Electricity and Water (PAEW), tasked with overseeing the formulation of a national strategy for renewable energy development, said the sites it had identified were optimal for wind power projects, a report in the Oman Daily Observer said.

The mapping of sites is key to the Oman Wind Atlas Project, an initiative launched by PAEW to encourage investment in wind-based renewable energy schemes in the sultanate.

The authority plans to erect wind masts at key locations to gather bankable wind data, a prerequisite for the commercial exploitation of this resource, the report stated.

“The aim is to identify and rank the best sites based not only on modelling and satellite data but also on ground characteristics. To this end, we will install wind masts at 80 m above ground at the best sites in order to collect bankable data,” Khalil Al Zidi, senior engineer for renewable energy, PAEW, was quoted as saying.

The project, which is a part of a string of feasibility study and pilot initiatives launched by PAEW over the past several years, has made significant headway since it was rolled out a couple of years ago, he said.

The first stage of the study, focusing on the identification and ranking of the best sites for wind farms, was scheduled for completion by around the middle of this year.

The focus has since shifted to stage two of the study: the installation of 80-metre-high wind masts equipped with data measuring equipment, said the report.

“To record such data, specialised instrumentation is required. Of course, the Public Authority for Civil Aviation has weather stations, but these are not designed or suitable for gathering bankable data. For example, to study the feasibility of wind power farms, it is necessary to install measuring systems at a height of 80 m above ground, (which will be addressed when the wind masts are installed),” Al Zidi said.

Other barriers to renewable energy development in the sultanate include the high capital cost of equipment and systems relative to conventional energy; subsidies, both direct and indirect, on electricity and the absence of a policy framework and target for adding renewables to the energy mix in the sultanate, he added.

More Stories