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Accelerating Oman’s economic growth through sustainability

Oman is undergoing significant change on the path to a diversified economy and greener society, and energy will be the foundation for this transformation.

Khalid bin Hadi

Availability of efficient, stable, and cost effective energy facilitates the development of society and economic growth. Energy supply supports access to education, health, industrial growth, jobs, whilst advancing the knowledge economy. 

But more than that, energy can provide a path to prosperity, through the implementation of innovative, digitalization and new and advanced technologies. Nations around the world are lauding green recovery plans, but this is only part of the story. 

Siemens Energy was formed from the spin-off from Siemens AG in September 2020 and will soon be promoted to the benchmark German stock index, DAX. The world leading energy technology company was formed with the goal of energizing society and decarbonizing the energy industry, with a strong focus on Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) criteria, such as sustainability, innovation, education, and creating economic growth.

Siemens Energy in is Oman for Oman. Our technology already generates, transmits and distributes around 40 percent of Oman‘s power. We have been present in Oman since the 1970s, over half of our employees are Omani and around 60 percent of our supply chain is through around 150 local third party Omani companies. Our activities in Oman range from strategic utility projects, to transmission projects, to industrial applications and generation projects, including supporting the oil and gas industry. We also have a major role in providing efficient, stable power to Oman through our involvement in the Duqm, SUR, Barka and Sohar power projects. 

Globally, we are present in around 90 countries and around 20 percent of energy supply is based on our technology.

That’s why we know that every country is at its own stage in the energy transition. Therefore, the solutions to meet the individual challenges must also be customized. There is no one path to decarbonization. 

Digitalization forms the basis on which to build a greener, more efficient, more stable, and more cost-effective energy systems. Through digitalization we can remotely gain real-time insight into operations, we can manage assets and control operational aspects safely, securely, and cost effectively. We can collect, monitor, and analyze the rich data, to predict future events, thereby improving efficiency, reducing downtime, and increasing resilience. These attributes require new technologies, new skillsets, new ways of thinking, but can provide new jobs, new industries, and new employment pathways. These benefits can be brought to legacy assets through retrofitting, and can future-proof future new developments, as systems become increasingly integrated, complex, and digitalized.

In current times, with oil and gas prices subdued, the benefits have never been so important for the oil and gas industry. Operational efficiency, control over opex, capex, and HSE, have never been higher up the agenda. Digitalization can also keep employees safe and operations running, as lockdowns prevent or limit access to sites, and as supply chains are disrupted. 

For the power and industrial sectors, the benefits are again similar, but with the added advantages of being able to monitor assets and predict performance more effectively. This is especially important given the Covid-19 disruptions to regular demand patterns caused by changing energy consumption patterns as our lives and lifestyles are disrupted by working from home and travelling less.

Looking into the future, renewable energy is increasingly becoming a mainstay in the energy mix and could form a dominant component. Oman is targeting 10 percent renewable energy contribution by 2025 and is blessed with abundant renewable energy potential that is amongst the world’s best. The transition into renewable energy, aligns with Vision 2040, a key pillar of which is to create a diversified, sustainable, and competitive economy that achieves fiscal sustainability.

While some countries are way ahead in the energy transition, proving the feasibility of renewable projects, with industrial-scale projects, others are still in the early phases of their energy transition, and switching to cleaner burning gas for electricity as opposed to burning oil or coal.

But what is clear is that greater adoption of renewable energies will force demand patterns to change, when combined with the intermittent nature of renewable energy, this is likely to impact grid stability. The enormous rotating mass from giant turbines in conventional power stations provides grids with stability, whereas renewable energy, due to its intermittent power delivery, can make it hard to balance demand and supply.

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