Glasspoint Solar, a US maker of solar steam generators for the oil and gas industry, said it plans to break ground on the world’s largest solar power station in Oman later this year.
The ambitious Miraah project is being developed in partnership with Petroleum Development Oman (PDO), the largest oil producer in Oman, and a joint venture between the Omani government and energy giants Shell, Total and Partex.
On completion, Miraah will be one of the largest solar plants in history, producing 1,021 MW of peak thermal energy, said the US company. Miraah will use concentrated sunlight to generate 6,000 tonnes of solar steam each day. The steam will feed directly to PDO’s existing thermal enhanced oil recovery (EOR) operations, providing a substantial portion of the steam required at the Amal oilfield in southern Oman.
GlassPoint Solar said the project will help save 5.6 trillion BTUs (British thermal units) of natural gas each year, which can be utilised for higher value uses in Oman thus boosting economic growth. The mega project dwarfs all previous solar EOR installations and is more than 100 times larger than the pilot project built by GlassPoint for PDO in 2012.
The full-scale project will comprise 36 glasshouses, built in succession and commissioned in modules of four. When complete, the total project area, including supporting infrastructure, will span an area equivalent to about 360 football pitches.
According to GlassPoint Solar, the project will break ground later this year with steam generation from the first glasshouse module projected to begin in 2017. By using sunlight instead of burning gas to make steam, Miraah will reduce carbon dioxide emissions by more than 300,000 tonnes each year.
Meanwhile, Oman’s Authority for Electricity Regulation (AER) has authorised a first-of-its-kind 303 kW solar power plant in Dhofar Governorate, said an Oman Observer report, adding that the licence has been issued to Bahwan Astonfield Solar Energy Company.
According to the agreement signed between the two organisations, the output will be sold to Rural Areas Electricity Company (RAEC).