ESERA seeks investors in wind power generation

Wind Turbines at a wind farm

By Phephile Motau

In a bid to wean Eswatini from being reliant on other countries for electricity, ESERA is now considering the use of wind energy.

The Eswatini Energy Regulatory Authority (ESERA) has issued a Request for Expression of Interest (REOI) Development of Wind Power Projects in Eswatini.

According to the document, it has been issued to assist ESERA to gain a better understanding of the wind resource availability as well as to assess the market’s readiness to develop Independent Power Producer (IPP) projects for wind energy in Eswatini.

ESERA said Eswatini currently imported the bulk of its electricity supply from neighbouring Eskom, Electricidade de Moçambique and the South African Power Pool to meet its electricity demand. The organisation said due to increased uncertainty in the security of supply and increasing tariffs in the Southern African region, the government through the Energy Regulator had initiated a procurement programme to reduce the country’s reliance on imported electricity by encouraging the development of local power generation capacity for national grid purposes.

The new generation capacity identified for development in the country includes the solar photovoltaic (“PV”) (circa 40 MW) – to be developed via the First Tranche Procurement Programme; and Biomass (circa 40 MW) – currently being developed via the Second Tranche Procurement Programme.

The organisation said information on wind resource availability in Eswatini was limited to non-bankable studies conducted in times past including some information in the Energy Master Plan 2034. It was stated that information availed through this REOI may be used by the Regulator to refine elements of the Request for Qualifications concerning wind power procurement wherein an international open tendering competitive bidding process would be used to mobilise private sector developers to design, engineer, construct, commission, finance, own, operate and maintain Wind Power Plants as IPP under a BOO (Build, Own, Operate) scheme including options for power export.

“This REOI is not a Request for Qualifications, Request for Proposals or call for tenders. This REOI merely seeks to identify those who may have an interest in participating in a future wind power procurement tranche,” ESERA said.

The document states that respondents are requested to provide the expected minimum capacity (in Mega-Watts) for a project(s) and related energy production from a project per year that would enable them to participate in a wind power procurement programme in Eswatini. Options for power experts must also be proposed, subject to the capability of the power system to evacuate power.

ESERA said respondents were also requested to provide related information such as the type and number of turbines that would be used and the indicative nameplate rating of each turbine.

“Respondents are to provide details on indicative project(s) location(s), including sizes of project(s) areas in hectares if any. Respondents should indicate typical steps and timeframes required to secure necessary land rights including access roads, easement needed to construct, interconnect and operate a wind project,” the document reads.

Information relevant to the dispersion of wind projects such as distance between sites should also be provided if available. Respondents were also requested to provide indicative interconnection points to the grid including any associated upgrades that would be necessary to connect any proposed wind project. This should also indicate the associated costs including the cost of typical connection equipment.

They are also required to provide a demonstration of the financial capability of the project developers/owners/operators to develop and operate the wind power project.

“If funding is not in place, Respondents should provide reasonable evidence of raising necessary funds, including the typical timeframe for specific actions and a description of direct experience in undertaking similar for large, capital-intensive projects (preferably power generation projects),” ESERA said.

The respondent is also required to provide a schedule outlining when they would be prepared to commence construction and deliver power.
Respondents interested in pursuing the development of Wind Power Projects in Eswatini are invited to Express their Interest in writing by submitting either hard copies or soft copied in response to Section 2 above and to further populate and submit signed copies of the
Expression of Interest Form attached as Appendix 1 and 2 on or before 13 January 2023.

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