French companies TotalEnergies and Veolia have signed an agreement to build a solar system to power a desalination plant in Oman as the Gulf country continues to focus on developing new renewable energy projects to cut emissions.
The new power plant, spanning 130,000 square metres and equivalent to "approximately 18 football pitches", will be located at the site of the Sharqiyah desalination plant, which supplies drinking water to more than 600,000 people living in the Sharqiyah region, the two companies said in a statement on Wednesday.
It will produce more than 30,000 megawatt-hours (MWh) of green electricity annually, or more than a third of the desalination plant's daily consumption.
"The plant will be equipped with more than 32,000 high-efficiency solar panels and will use an innovative East-West tracker system to increase energy production," the statement said.
The move is in line with Oman’s National Energy Strategy to convert 30 per cent of its electricity use to renewable sources by 2030.
Oman is building renewable energy plants across the country to increase the supply of clean power to both homes and industries as part of its commitment to the Paris Accord, which it signed in 2016.
Some of the plants are already operational, including the $125 million Dhofar wind farm, developed by Abu Dhabi's clean energy company Masdar and funded by the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development. The total capacity of the plant is 50MW.
Other projects include Petroleum Development Oman’s 100MW Amin photovoltaic solar power plant, which began commercial operations in 2020.
“We’re happy to launch the construction of the solar plant on our desalination unit in the city of Sur, to be able to power it with green electricity while drastically reducing its carbon footprint,” said Estelle Brachlianoff, chief executive of Veolia.
Globally, new renewable power capacity rose by 6 per cent in 2021 to a record 295 gigawatts, shaking off the rising cost of raw material, Covid-19 pandemic-driven construction delays and global supply chain challenges, the International Energy Agency said in its latest Renewable Energy Market update in May.
This year, the agency expects global capacity additions to rise another 8 per cent to 320 gigawatts as governments around the globe focus on developing new clean energy projects to cut emissions.
“This project is in line with our strategy to develop renewable energy in the Middle East and provide our customers with clean, reliable and affordable energy solutions,” said Vincent Stoquart, senior vice president of renewables at TotalEnergies.
TotalEnergies is building a portfolio of renewable projects as part of its ambition to achieve net zero by 2050. At the end of June 2022, TotalEnergies' gross renewable electricity generation capacity reached 12 gigawatts. The company aims to reach 35 gigawatts of gross production capacity from renewable sources and storage by 2025, and 100 gigawatts by 2030.
With nearly 220,000 employees worldwide, Veolia group is active in the water, waste and energy management sectors.