H.E. Eng. Salim bin Nasser Al-Aufi, the Minister of Energy and Minerals in Oman, has officially inaugurated a 17-megawatt peak (MWp) solar photovoltaic (PV) farm designed to power the Sharqiyah Desalination Plant in Sur, Oman. This solar farm, the largest of its kind for a desalination facility in Oman, boasts an annual capacity of over 32,000 megawatt-hours (MWh) of green electricity, which will cover the plant’s entire daytime consumption.
Developed in partnership between Veolia and TotalEnergies, the solar plant is a significant step toward decarbonization efforts in the region, as it is expected to reduce approximately 27,200 tonnes of CO2 emissions annually, equivalent to the emissions from roughly 6,000 internal combustion engine-powered vehicles over the same period.
Construction of the solar plant commenced in August 2022, with testing taking place from March 30 to April 15, 2023. The plant officially began commercial operation on April 16, 2023, and the lease agreement for its operation extends until March 31, 2036.
During the inauguration event, Minister Al-Aufi praised the solar photovoltaic facility, emphasizing its role in supporting clean drinking water for over 600,000 residents in the Sharqiyah region. He highlighted its alignment with global efforts toward energy transition for a net-zero world and its contribution to water security in Oman. The project is in line with Oman’s National Energy Strategy, aiming to derive 30% of electricity from renewable sources by 2030, as part of Oman Vision 2040.
Philippe Bourdeaux, Vice President of Africa, Near & Middle East of Veolia, expressed gratitude for the support of the Sultanate of Oman and private sector partners in their efforts to contribute to energy transition and decarbonization. He emphasized Veolia’s commitment to ecological transformation and its expertise in reducing carbon emissions through renewable energy and sustainable operations.
The inauguration event was attended by senior management from Veolia and Total Energies, as well as government officials and representatives from the Sharqiyah Desalination Company SAOG (SDC) and the Nama Power and Water Procurement Company (NPWP).
Denis Le Maout, Chairman of the Board of Sharqiyah Desalination Company SAOG, highlighted the significance of the desalination plant in Sur, which produces a substantial amount of drinking water for local communities while minimizing the extraction of freshwater resources. Innovative technologies, including renewable energy, are being harnessed to reduce the environmental and economic impact of the conventional desalination process.
Ahmed bin Salim Al-Abari, the acting CEO of Nama for Power and Water Procurement Company (PWP), commended the collaboration with desalination plants to transition to renewable energy for desalination, aligning with Oman’s renewable energy objectives for the future.
Veolia, with over 40 years of experience in the Middle East, including 15 years in Oman, has been instrumental in delivering sustainable solutions and supporting Oman’s green and circular economy objectives. The Sultanate remains a strategic location for Veolia’s operations in the region.