MUSCAT: A five-year renewable energy research programme worth RO7.36mn has been okayed. The programme is likely to have a significant impact on the sultanate’s energy sector.

The programme was approved on Sunday by The Research Council (TRC) board and its chairman H H Sayyid Shihab bin Tariq al Said, Advisor to His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said.

The programme will promote the use of efficient, clean energy sources by enhancing renewable energy and energy-efficiency applications and investment to contribute to the sustainability of Oman’s overall development.

The strategy is based on four main research themes: Use of renewable energy for cooling and refrigeration applications; use of renewable energy for water desalination systems; energy efficiency and power generation and storage.

To achieve these strategic goals, TRC has established a steering committee which will develop a comprehensive plan. The committee will be chaired by the president of the Public Authority for Electricity and Water and will also include representatives of TRC, ministries, private sectors, and academic institutions.

Five research pilot projects are expected to be carried out in four to five years. The strategy will also include creating a database to provide information to researchers. Studies and applied research projects will cover energy generation and storage using solar energy, wind energy, biomass, wave and tide energy and geothermal energy.

Considering the available renewable energy resources, the studies will present an evaluation of energy generation and storage technologies, their technical suitability for use in Oman, and environmental conditions of Oman.

The total budget of the five-year programme is estimated to be RO7.36mn and while 89.6 per cent of it has been allocated for financing the four research themes and capacity building, 9.01 per cent has been set aside for operating budget and the remaining for database, awareness and marketing activities and publications.

By the end of the proposed five-year strategic research, TRC will present a mature and advanced experience in the renewable energy and energy efficiency research field. The outcomes of the research can help decision-makers assess future plans of the energy sector, and also aid concerned authorities in developing the right polices and regulations which will accelerate investments in renewable energy projects in Oman.

The programme will also help in capacity building in the form of at least six PhD and eight MSc scholarships and other training programmes.

SOURCE: Muscat Daily