By John Brian Shannon
If any nation has the opportunity to become a renewable energy giant, it is the Sultanate of Oman. Blessed with abundant sunlight and a reasonable supply of wind all extant within a comparatively small territory in which to distribute that electricity, Oman could meet most of it's electrical energy needs with the right combination of solar photovoltaic and solar CSP, wind and biomass.
NOT to take away from companies currently supplying baseload electrical energy in Oman. But rather, to complement those very necessary energy providers and distributors, which would result in quite the fuel savings for Oman's electrical power companies -- as wind and solar do not require any fuel source to produce electricity, thereby lowering the cost of making electricity.
Additionally, that unneeded oil and gas could then be sold to other nations instead of Oman's power companies. Which would be especially attractive now that the oil price is sitting around $100.00 per barrel.
Energy companies are in the business of energy, whether the source of that energy is coal, oil & gas, nuclear, wind, solar or biomass. And, renewable energy is suddenly and rapidly approaching price parity with fossil fuels. At least, approaching parity with non-subsidized coal, oil & gas and nuclear.
Therefore, it makes sense to consider building all of Oman's future electrical power generation from renewable energy sources only, adding clean energy to the existing grid at the moment costs plummet below traditional kinds of energy.
Where to locate all of those solar panels? Utility companies in several nations have generous programs to rent rooftop space from residential and commercial building owners for the purposes of solar panel installations which are connected and add power to the national grid. Landowners too, are being sought out and thousands of acres of land are being covered with solar panels, on land leased for exactly that purpose.
You may have heard of Boulder City – a small city in Nevada, USA, which was nearing insolvency. When solar companies began to inquire about leasing huge blocks of land for solar installations to power south-western US cities, the mayor and councillors were able to sign a multimillion dollar lease agreement, with some of the money paid immediately. Other solar power companies soon began to make the trek to the sleepy little city, to offer huge amounts of money to lease barren lands. Not only was Boulder able to stave off insolvency, but employment statistics have improved, city coffers are filling and the solar companies have made improvements to local infrastructure, at no charge to the city. Read about this great story here.
Rather than raise taxes yet again to raise revenue, Boulder City invited solar power companies to invest in the future of Boulder City and they were pleased to do so.
Oman stands perfectly poised to invite solar, wind and biomass companies to add millions, perhaps billions of dollars per year to the Omani economy. A window of opportunity seems set to open for the Sultanate of Oman.
John Brian Shannon is a writer who lives on Canada's west coast. Green energy, sustainability and economics, are his favorite blog topics. His articles appear in the Huffington Post, EnergyBoom, Arabian Gazette and other quality publications.
Check out John's personal blog at http://johnbrianshannon.com