The Southern Africa Trade Hub (SATH) has noted that this unexplored industry in the country would increase energy security, offer environmental benefits and create green jobs, while providing reliable affordable electricity.
It says renewable energy has a vital role to play in Swaziland’s energy future. SATH notes that the country currently imports over 71% of its power from South Africa and Mozambique.
It says this is despite the fact that the country’s renewable energy resources; such as solar, small hydro, wind and residues from the sugar industry could meet the entire national demand of 200 megawatts (MW) if fully exploited.
“Energy usage is an urgent issue as Swaziland’s demand for electricity will continue to rise. Access to electricity is currently about 65% in urban areas and 45% in rural areas. A developed renewable energy sector in Swaziland has the potential to increase these percentages significantly, which would in turn increase energy security, offer environmental benefits and create green jobs, while providing reliable affordable electricity,” continued SATH.
SATH reported that recognising this potential, Swaziland requested the United States Agency for International Aid’s (USAID) SATH to help develop a renewable energy and independent power producer (IPP) policy.
It says the country also sought assistance on a strategic environmental assessment of the policy as an urgent priority. SATH says the renewable energy and IPP policy intends to guide and expand the role of the private sector in developing the country’s renewable energy sources and diversify the supply and nature of energy production.
It says the policy would provide a clear, easily identifiable roadmap for IPPs with a clear delineation of institutional authority and the country’s policy with regard to private power. SATH says developing a transparent, robust and predictable renewable energy and IPP policy is critical to attracting the investment of IPPs in the sector.
“An increase in IPPs’ clean electricity generation contributes to climate change mitigation, economic growth, trade competitiveness and food security. To help the policy formulation process, the Trade Hub will provide renewable energy and environmental technical expertise to the ministry of natural resources and energy (MNRE), which has decided to form a task team of high level policy-makers and a technical steering committee comprised of key stakeholders,” says SATH.
It states that the task team and steering committee would guide the process and ensure national ownership not only of the policy process, but the final policy document as well.
...Govt keen on market-oriented structures
GOVERNMENT is keen on the introduction of market-oriented structures into the energy system.
The Southern Africa Trade Hub (SATH) in a report says as such it has prioritised reform of the energy sector, which to date has included establishing and strengthening the Swaziland Energy Regulatory Authority (SERA). SATH states that government recognised the potential of the private sector to generate electricity.
“SATH’s attention is now on providing SERA with necessary regulatory tools, such as an appropriate policy and regulatory framework, which will help increase the role Independent Power Producers (IPPs) in the power sector and development of indigenous renewable energy sources.
“SATH is already working with the department of energy and SERA to formulate the necessary policy and regulatory framework through a consultative process that will help clarify issues of renewable energy investment to all stakeholders,” added the organisation.