On the back of measures to support transition to a low carbon economy, Oman intends to slow greenhouse gases (GHG) emission growth. According to the Sultanate’s Second Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC), 4 per cent of the GHG reduction commitment will be based on national efforts.
The remaining 3 per cent would necessitate grants and other forms of concessional financing and assistance with capacity building and institutional strengthening, and access to appropriate technologies.
“The proposed renewable energy projects, energy efficiency plans, and energy conservation initiatives would enable the Sultanate to slow GHG emission growth and reduce them by 7 per cent in 2030”, says the report which was submitted to United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), last week.
This, according to the report, is compared to the business-as-usual scenario, which is predicted at about 125.254 metric tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent or MTCO2e assuming a sustained moderate GDP growth rate at 3 per cent per year, a total population of 6.3 million by the year 2030.
International climate finance is a crucial element for the Sultanate of Oman to further bend the GHG emission growth curve over the next decade. Article 6 of the Paris Agreement is an additional mechanism for the Sultanate to achieve cost-efficient emission reductions, facilitate the transfer of carbon mitigation technology, and deliver significant sustainable development co-benefits.
“Such co-benefits would reduce air pollutants, generate jobs, and lay the ground for the just transition to a climate-resilient economy and society,” points out the report.
The NDC is rooted in the Oman vision 2040 and the National Energy Strategy to support a gradual transition to a low carbon economy and an energy matrix significantly lower in carbon emissions.
The Sultanate has embarked on serious structural reforms and transformative policies to lay the groundwork for a low carbon economy and shift to low-emission sustainable development pathways over the last five years.
The massive deployment of renewable energy and the deepening of energy efficiency actions are the pillars of the 2030 carbon control plan in the Sultanate. The National Energy Strategy has set an ambitious target to derive 20 per cent of electricity from renewables by 2027.
Over the period 2021-2027, the renewable energy plan aimed to secure at least 2,660 MW. The plan relies mainly on solar PV with 79 per cent and wind of about 21 per cent.
The power generation decarbonisation plan has already started since the third quarter of 2019 with the first wind farm of 49 MW in Oman and the Gulf region. Commercial operations for the Sultanate's first large-scale solar PV project of 500 MW are due to begin at the end of 2021.
The National Energy Strategy further enhances the gas-fired plant's overall energy efficiency in conjunction with the clean energy plans. The energy efficiency of the gas fired plants' has improved by 13 per cent between 2004 and 2015 (from 26 per cent in 2005 to 39 per cent in 2015). Between 2015 and 2020, the improvement was even more significant at 15.63 per cent (from 39 per cent in 2015 to 55 per cent in 2020).
According to the report, the continuous increase in overall energy efficiency was attributed to the older, less productive plants' closure, technical advances in the gas-fired plants, and a switch to combined-cycle plants.
The gas-fired plants' efficiency will continue to improve over the next five years (2021-2025) by about 11 per cent (from 55 per cent in 2020 to 63 per cent in 2027).
“The need for Oman to cope with climate threats is enormous, and the resources to address this are limited. Therefore, mobilizing climate finance from a variety of sources is a top priority of the NAP process that will be implemented over 2021-2024”, says the report.
The Ministry of Energy and Minerals, the Authority for Public Services Regulation and the Oman Power and Water Procurement Company (OPWP) are the government entities responsible for implementing and catalysing public and private investments in the renewable energy plan.