The Kingdom of eSwatini, known as Swaziland in South Africa has called for bids to build 40MW solar power capacity to reduce reliance on the county’s troubled state power firm Eskom.
The tender has been floated by the Eswatini Energy Regulatory Authority (ESERA), which will procure the power produced from the projects. The kingdom, imports 80% of its electricity from South Africa, where the cash-strapped national supplier has implemented some of the worst rolling blackouts in years and has needed a state bailout to survive.
The capacity identified for development under the short-term generation expansion plan (SGEP) will be under the first tranche procurement program, and another 40 MW biomass will be procured in the second tranche.
This procurement process is supported by the African Legal Support Facility (ALSF), a public international organization dedicated to providing legal advice and technical assistance to African countries for complex commercial transactions, according to the RfQ document.
The capacity for each project should range between 5-15 MW, and each project should utilize proven ground-mounted solar PV technology. The tariff for the first tranche procurement program will be an energy-only tariff (E/kWh). At the RfP stage, the bidders will be required to state the tariff at which they propose to sell the electricity generated from each project. The tariff will be applicable at commercial operation date (COD), which will be escalated annually at the consumer price index (CPI).
To reduce power reliance from South Africa, the government of eSwatini plans to produce 100% of its own power by 2034. Additionally plans are also underway to expand hydroelectric power generation from the Maguga Dam project, near the capital Mbabane. This could also stimulate foreign investment
Khaya Mavuso, a representative for eSwatini Electricity Company explained that under the project, Under the project, water from the dam would be used to generate an extra 20 MW. From June this year, the company would also gain access to an additional 10 MW from a solar plant to be located in southeast of eSwatini.