Oman-GCC power trading to be trialled this year
A trial exchange of power capacity along the interconnected system linking Oman with the wider GCC electricity grid is planned this year
A trial exchange of power capacity along the interconnected system linking Oman with the wider GCC electricity grid is planned this year -- a move designed to eventually pave the way for commercial power trading with member states of the bloc.
According to the Oman Power and Water Procurement Company (OPWP), the sole procurer of new power and water capacity in the Sultanate, the existing interconnection linking Oman's network with that of the UAE Emirate of Abu Dhabi at Mahadha can potentially handle up to 800MW in electricity transfers -- capacity equivalent to a mid-sized power plant -- during emergencies.
This opens up significant opportunities for capacity purchases and, most importantly, commercial trading of electricity between Oman and GCC member states, reported the Oman Daily Observer.
With this goal in mind, OPWP is currently working with other stakeholders in staging a trial exchange of capacity this year.
Commenting on this landmark initiative, the state-owned utility said: "Energy trades or firm capacity purchases from neighbouring power systems are important potential contingency resources. OPWP is working with Oman Electricity Transmission Company (OETC), Authority for Electricity Regulation Oman (AER) and GCC Interconnection Authority (GCCIA) to finalize the access conditions that will facilitate trade agreements. The access conditions will establish rules and procedures that will allow Oman to import, export, or exchange power with the other GCCIA member states."
"OPWP has arranged a trial capacity exchange in 2016, towards enabling this option as a confirmed alternative to current contingency resources such as temporary diesel generation," the utility added in its newly released 7-Year Outlook Statement envisioning domestic power and water needs over the 2016-2022 timeframe.
The Sultanate joined the GCC Interconnection Authority (GCCIA) in December 2014, enabling access to the power systems of other member states via the UAE interconnect. GCCIA membership provides access to generation and operating reserves, with tangible benefits to Oman both for planning and operations. The GCCIA is also developing mechanisms for commercial power trading among member states.
According to OPWP, the existing double circuit 220kV link connecting Oman's Main Interconnected System (MIS) with the Abu Dhabi grid at Mahadha currently supports reliable transfers of up to 400 MW. However, performance tests have demonstrated its ability to carry up to 800 MW in emergencies. The link is being utilized actively to provide emergency reserves support to the benefit of Oman, the UAE, and other GCCIA member countries, the power procurer stated.