Oman is exploring the possibility of building offshore wind farms in the Arabian Sea, according to a senior government official.
“For offshore wind power projects, we were looking at the possibilities for a long time. But, we are much more determined to look at them now,” said Omani Ministry of Oil & Gas undersecretary H E Salim al Aufi, Middle East business newspaper Zawya reports.
“We are doing some work in that space, and going forward there could be more announcements this year in this direction.”
According to the Global Wind Atlas, certain near-shore locations in Omani waters see average wind speeds of almost 10 metres per second at a height of 100 metres, rivalling the winds seen in the North Sea.
As Recharge reported last week, Oman wants renewables to provide 30% of its energy mix — about 4.8GW — by 2030, with the sultanate already tendering for 1.7GW of solar and procurement of a further 2.6GW in the pipeline.
Speaking at an event in Muscat, Aufi added that the country is also conducting a study aimed at understanding onshore wind speeds across sparsely populated southern Oman.
“This is being done to identify best locations for setting up the wind power projects. We have good idea about the probable locations where they can be set up in future. However, it is a good idea to support the proposal with proper data,” he said.
Oman saw the first large-scale wind farm in the Gulf Cooperation Council installed last year — the 50MW Dhofar wind farm, built by Abu Dhabi-based developer Masdar using 13 3.8MW GE turbines.
The International Energy Agency, in its first standalone report on the global offshore sector, last year forecast offshore wind would mushroom to from its current 25GW installed base to become a main engine of the transition toward a decarbonised global energy system in the coming decades, with the worldwide fleet expanding 15-fold to reach at least 340GW by 2040.
But the International Renewable Energy Agency expects the worldwide build-out to reach 1TW of plant by 2050, and a 2019 World Bank study suggested “emerging” plays alone could ultimately add as much 3TW to the worldwide fleet.