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$326mn to boost rural power capacity in Oman

The move is part of a countrywide initiative aimed at addressing growing power demand in Oman

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Oman, Power, Power consumption, Power crisis, Power demand, News

Oman’s Rural Areas Electricity Company will invest an estimated $326mn to improve power generation capacity in rural areas in 2016, said a senior official.

The move is part of a countrywide initiative aimed at addressing growing power demand in Oman.

"Various power projects that are in the pipeline include new power plants, expansion of electrical infrastructure like transmission and distribution networks, sub-stations and renewable energy," said Engineer Hamad bin Salim Al Maghderi, chief executive officer of the Rural Areas Electricity Company.

Engineer Al Maghderi also told 'Times of Oman' that four new power plants in the Sultanate -- Masirah, Thurmait, Khasab and Mazuna -- which are due for completion in 2016, will generate a total of 200 megawatts of power.

He pointed out that the electricity sector in the country continued to record growth in 2015 and managed to reach new geographical areas as a result of population growth and the increased industrial and commercial projects in the Sultanate.

"This year, the focus of the rural area electricity company will be in Duqm, as we will be adding capacity and transmission system, with emphasis on the industrial units operating in the Duqm Special Economic Zone Authority (Sezad)," Eng. Al Maghderi said.

Sezad was established in 2011 to implement long-term strategies for the development of Duqm and promote the zone as industrial hub for attracting local and foreign direct investment. Sezad offers various incentives for the investors.

The CEO further said that in Musandan, the Rural Areas Electricity Company is continuing the project of connecting all the wilayats with transmission and primary systems. "Renewable projects like solar and wind in Masirah and Thurmait are also part of the company's ambitious plan this year," he added.

While stressing the need to encourage small and medium enterprises (SMEs), Eng. Al Maghderi said that 150 SMEs, which provide equipment and services, are registered in the power sector and that the company provides all kinds of assistance to them.

"Some of the SMEs are new. We give them guidelines on how to start a project, maintain quality control as well as HSE (Health Safety and Environment) requirements. We also encourage Omanis in the colleges and technical institutes to take up such projects," he added.

Eng. Hamad bin Salim Al Maghderi, who is also the chairman of the Distribution Code Review Panel (DCRP), said that number of Omanis working in the electricity firms registered at DCRP reached more than 4,000 workers.

He said that DCRP plans to meet on an annual basis with the companies operating in the sector, including contractors and suppliers to discuss the challenges and developments in the labour market and the mechanisms to facilitate and overcome them.

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