May 27, 2024

OCEC Advances Sustainability with Major Solar Energy Project

The Oman Convention Exhibition Centre (OCEC) is set to become a pioneer of innovative solar energy, installing an impressive 4.6 megawatt-peak solar rooftop to generate more than 7,000 megawatt-hours of electricity a year.

It will act as an illuminating beacon for green infrastructure in Oman, and a signifier of the need for increased environmental sensitivity and energy efficiency. Going beyond the mere tourism industry, it’s a partnership with TotalEnergies that underscores a wider commitment to sustainability, not just for the center but for the region.

A secondary benefit is a more local concern: the project is going to create jobs and drive down reliance on fossil fuels.

OCEC Advances Sustainability with Major Solar Energy Project: CEO Said Salim al Shanfari

The iconic Oman Convention Exhibition Centre (OCEC) has announced another initiative to fulfil the vision of His Majesty Sultan Haitham bin Tarik of advancing towards sustainability with a daring idea to generate solar energy.

Said Salim al Shanfari, CEO, OCEC, spoke about this project at recent panels hosted by Petroleum Development Oman (FD Ignite Week) and The Business Year (Oman Business Forum), noting that this is part of a strategic shift towards investments that are “impactful and profitable” to the country while also supporting the national sustainability agenda.

Significant Solar Energy Initiative

Offering cutting-edge sustainability features, the crowning glory is, of course, the solar panel project to help bring OCEC to net-zero energy consumption. TotalEnergies Renewables DG MEA will be installing the 4.6 megawatt-peak solar rooftop on the building.

The installation could produce more 7,000 megawatt-hours of electricity annually and achieve more than 20 per cent increased thermal and energy efficiency of the center, which will significantly reduce the carbon footprint of the center.

By incorporating renewables into this project, OCEC demonstrated that our region can set an example for environmental sensitivity.

And the partnership with TotalEnergies would help catapult OCEC’s path towards sustainability: TotalEnergies is a global energy company committed to energy transformation and promoting renewable energy solutions with cutting-edge technology.

The partnership doesn’t just consist of installing solar panels; it also provides an integrated approach to energy efficiency for OCEC.

This includes smart grid and other monitoring technology, which integrates sensors, actuators plus communications and computing, to optimize performance and efficiency, and ensure effective operational functionalities.

The plan is for OCEC to be completed by the end of 2024, making it a beacon of sustainable infrastructure within Oman’s development pursuits.

Innovative Energy Management and Optimization

Despite installing the solar panels, the Oman Convention Exhibition Centre (OCEC) are also installing state-of-the-art energy management technologies, reports the Omani Observer on last April.

An energy optimization framework has also been put in place by TotalEnergies Renewables DG MEA, which integrates smart grid technology and sophisticated monitoring systems.

This means that the future consumption of energy by OCEC can be tracked and tuned on a minute-by-minute basis; thus, energy is not wasted, and sustainable use is maximized.

The result is a ‘seamless and consistent system’ that draws knowledge from its core and is ‘shaping a new paradigm in energy management in the region’, the report claims.

it is a win-win proposition. Not only will this help to greatly reduce costs, but it will also create ‘a holistic energy revolution’, contributing to the wider energy transition goals of the Sultanate of Oman.

Benefits of the Solar Energy Initiative for the Local Community

Several benefits to the local community should follow the solar energy project at OCEC. The center generates more than 7,000 megawatt-hours of electricity each year – enough to reduce the center's reliance on non-renewable sources of energy and its carbon footprint.

The project hopes to educate, as well, in terms of renewable energy practices — to provide a model example of sustainable development — while also offering local jobs during the manufacturing, installation and maintenance period. This has the effect of supporting the local economy.

This shift to solar power signals that OCEC is at the forefront of sustainability as more business entities and research centers in Oman also kickstart their sustainability plans (C-MW) (MCREEE).

Prospects and Sustainability Goals

Looking forward, OCEC’s solar energy project is part of the long-term sustainability plan devised by management to ensure the remaining refinery units keep operating. It also contributes, as the acronym suggests, to Oman’s Vision 2040, in which sustainable development and environmental protection are paramount.

Besides saving on operational costs, OCEC is also aligned with the timely and progressive national plan to transition to net-zero energy consumption and achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

The project is due for completion at the end of 2024 – one of a series of steps that will get OCEC closer to both goals. With OCEC’s commitment to sustainability, the company has established a strong example for other venues and organizations around the Middle East to follow.

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