Plan to cut power sub­si­dies, stress on re­new­able en­ergy

Times of Oman - - FRONT PAGE - SYED HAITHAM HASAN

MUSCAT: Oman is on the right path of phas­ing out elec­tric­ity sub­si­dies, but needs to cre­ate a cul­ture of en­ergy sav­ing as it aims to har­ness 10 per cent of its en­ergy re­quire­ments from al­ter­nate sources by 2025.

“Elec­tric­ity sub­si­dies in Oman are a gift to all its res­i­dents for contributing to the build­ing of the na­tion. How­ever, these sub­si­dies have also made con­ven­tional sources of pro­duc­ing power more at­trac­tive for res­i­dents to con­tinue with. I am not against the sub­si­dies, but there has to be a more ag­gres­sive plan to pro­mote re­new­able en­ergy and I be­lieve we are on the right path af­ter elec­tric­ity sub­sidy for large users was re­moved by the govern­ment, thereby push­ing them to adopt re­new­able sources of en­ergy,” Dr. Ahmed Al Bu­saidi, head of Re­new­able En­ergy Re­search at The Re­search Coun­cil (TRC), said.

Scal­ing down use of elec­tric­ity through sim­ple meth­ods, such as switch­ing off air con­di­tion­ers or con­serv­ing wa­ter can be cru­cial to a sus­tain­able en­ergy fu­ture for the Sul­tanate, he said.

“We are work­ing with lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties for de­vel­op­ing en­ergy ef­fi­cient prac­tices with sim­ple meth­ods, such as clean­ing AC fil­ters, re­duc­ing the ther­mo­stat and us­ing nat­u­ral light­ing and cool­ing tech­niques to lessen de­pen­dency on elec­tric­ity from the grid. This is im­por­tant be­cause if less en­ergy is re­quired, re­new­ables can be enough or do well to de­liver a ma­jor part of the de­mand. We need to cre­ate this cul­ture,” he ex­plained.

TRC is cur­rently work­ing with 30 schools in the Sul­tanate to help them un­der­stand the con­cept of en­ergy savings and re­duce con­sump­tion as it tack­les with a dearth of aware­ness amongst the gen­eral pop­u­la­tion in this re­gard.

“We are train­ing school go­ing stu­dents and their teach­ers on the ben­e­fits of these things in terms of the econ­omy and health fac­tors. The point is that we have to start from younger peo­ple so that they can cre­ate the right fu­ture once they have found the right di­rec­tion to move in. We want more aware­ness among the res­i­dents. It may be sim­ple things, but it should be that en­ergy savings and sus­tain­abil­ity must be em­bed­ded in minds of peo­ple,” Dr. Al Bu­saidi added.

Al­though armed with cheaper op­er­a­tional costs and near zero emis­sion, al­ter­nate sources of pro­duc­ing en­ergy re­quires ex­cep­tion­ally high ini­tial in­vest­ment and pro­duces lesser power, even with such as­tro­nom­i­cal funds.

Ac­cord­ing to data from the Na­tional Cen­tre of Sta­tis­ti­cal In­for­ma­tion (NCSI), 46 per cent of the elec­tric­ity utilised in 2016 was clas­si­fied as house­hold con­sump­tion. This added to nearly 14,000 Gwh of elec­tric­ity, which rep­re­sents more than a 120 per cent rise from 2011. >A5

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