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German investors fund Oman solar project

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German investor Terra Nex, in collaboration with Middle Eastern partners, plans to invest $2 billion to develop solar power within Oman.

Terra Nex, in collaboration with Middle East Best Select (MEBS) Group of Funds, plans to invest $2 billion to develop solar power within Oman, known for its oil and gas exportation.

According to Reuters, David Heimhofer, chairman of Terra Nex, views Oman as a 'natural partner' due to its 'stable business environment and pro-environmental policies'. The government aims to produce 10 percent of its energy requirements via renewable energy resources by 2020.

The project, which has enticed foreign investment, is also aimed at developing the local industry. It is reported that all of the components required for the project, from the generation of solar panels to aluminium frames, will be produced in-country.

The abundance of natural solar energy has become an interesting prospect for foreign investors. David Heimhofer, chairman of Terra Nex and managing director of Middle East Best Select stated:

"Terra Nex has identified the Sultanate as stable and attractive investment environment to do business. The participating investors were specially chosen since they have already invested in the Middle East region. They are particularly keen to have access to the significant growth potential in the renewable energy sector in Oman, especially in the field of solar and wind energy."

Khalid Bin Nasser Al Maawali, a local partner of Terra Nex and MEBS, stated that Omani youth would also benefit from the scheme, as they will be trained and offered employment for an 18 month contract -- the expected time of completion. Training Oman's young people may also make the future of renewable energy within the Middle Eastern country more plausible, as skilled workers will exist to make this happen.

In order to meet the demands of training local Omanis, there is current speculation concerning the notion of setting up a European university to provide training within renewable energy engineering. This project is expected to create 2,000 jobs for locals.

Shaikh Hilal explained the reasons behind the project:

"Oman has an abundance of natural resources, a strong industrial heritage and a willing workforce. To combat all-time high demand for electricity, the project helps move a significant amount of the Sultanate’s manufacturing capacity to solar power. Thus establishing Oman’s leadership in the field of sustainable energy and ensuring a clean and healthy environment for generations to come."

As SmartPlanet's Mark Halper suggested, you might assume that due to the constant presence of intense sun within the Middle east, one of these countries would dominate global rankings for solar-power generation. In a recent global ranking, not a single Middle East nation made the Top 10 for solar power, and the current amount generated is minuscule in comparison to Europe, China or the United States.

Photo credit: Flickr

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Charlie Osborne

Contributing Editor

Charlie Osborne is a freelance journalist and photographer based in London. In addition to SmartPlanet, she also writes for business technology website ZDNet and consumer technology site CNET. She holds a degree in medical anthropology from the University of Kent. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure