Oman benefitting from common GCC power gridby CW Staff on May 6, 2013
Oman is enjoying significant benefits from its decision to connect to the GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) power grid, according to an expert presenting a paper on the GCC power grid at the Oman Power and Water Summit.
The Sultanate can take advantage of the common GCC power grid by importing and exporting power through the common grid from other Gulf countries and, as Oman has a higher power generation cost compared to some of its neighbours ($225/MWh), it can make considerable savings when importing during power shortages.
Among GCC countries, Qatar has the lowest power generation cost at $88 per MWh, while Oman is in the middle with a cost of $225/MWh. The Sultanate can reduce its cost to $155/Mwh by importing power from Qatar when the country faces power shortage, said Eng Nasser Al Shahrani, director of operation and control at the GCC Interconnection Authority (GCCIA). The UAE also experiences lower power generation cost of $104 per MWh, which Oman can expolit.
“The UAE can sell power to Oman, which reduces the marginal cost to Oman to roughly $150/MWh,” Muscat Daily reported Al Shahrani as saying.
Since the establishment of GCC power grid, 700 power trading incidents have occurred to stabilise the systems. Oman provides or receives support through the UAE power grid. Eng Al Shahrani said the advantages of the common GCC grid include reduction in generating capacity in each system as a result of sharing power reserves and sharing spinning reserves to cover emergency conditions.
It also helps to provide emergency support to any system during black out situations, besides lowering operating costs by using the most economic generation unit in the interconnected system.
The GCC power grid came online in 2009 and originally connected Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain and Qatar. A budget of $1.2bn (AED 4.4bn) was allocated to establish a 400 kV grid connecting the GCC countries, consisting of transmission substations, long distance OHLs, submarine cable and HVDC back-to-back substation connecting the 60 Hz system (Saudi Arabia) and the other 50 Hz systems.