Swazi Observer - - BUSINESS - By Man­qoba Makhubu

THE Swazi­land Elec­tric­ity Com­pany (SEC) as­pires to gen­er­ate a max­i­mum of about 494MW of elec­tric­ity by 2025.

This is part of the util­ity’s gen­er­a­tion ex­pan­sion plan which seeks to cut heavy re­liance on im­ported power.

Ac­cord­ing to the SEC’s 2016 an­nual re­port, the util­ity spent over E900 mil­lion on elec­tric­ity im­ports in the past year.

The re­port said the util­ity was tar­get­ing dif­fer­ent gen­er­a­tion tech­nolo­gies, in­clud­ing coal fired ther­mal power gen­er­a­tion, so­lar pho­to­voltaic power gen­er­a­tion and ther­mal power gen­er­a­tion us­ing biomass.

“A num­ber of Mem­o­ran­dums of Un­der­stand­ing (MoUs) and Power Agree­ments have been signed with In­de­pen­dent Power Pro­duc­ers(IPPs) who will de­velop some of the above men­tioned power plants un­der the Build Own Op­er­ate then Trans­fer( BOOT) prin­ci­ple,” said the re­port.

The tar­geted plants in­clude KaLanga so­lar power plant with a ca­pac­ity of about 850 Kw, Lavu­misa so­lar power plant 5MW, Lower Maguduza Hy­dro 12MW, Ng­wem­phisi Hy­dro120MW, so­lar power plants at var­i­ous lo­ca­tions tar­get­ing 56MW and Lub­huku Ther­mal Power Plant 300MW.

Some will be de­vel­oped by SEC while oth­ers are still un­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion through fea­si­bil­ity stud- ies un­der­taken by the com­pany.

“Through the devel­op­ment of th­ese plants, it is ex­pected that Swazi­land will have suf­fi­cient lo­cal power gen­er­a­tion and re­duce re­liance on gen­er­a­tion im­ports,” said the re­port.

The reg­u­la­tor re­cently li­censed the Lower Maguduza Hy­dro-Power Scheme which is cham­pi­oned by Mid­dleLusutfu Hy­dropower (Pty) Ltd. The pro­ject, worthE700 mil­lion, will op­er­ate un­der the BOOT ar­range­ment.

This means the pro­ject will then be handed over to SEC af­ter 25 years.

Dur­ing the pro­ject site visit held in Novem­ber last year, Mid­dle Lusutfu Hy­dro power Chief Ex­ec­u­tive Of­fi­cer Richard Gor­don said the power plant would in­crease lo­cal gen­er­a­tion by 12MW af­ter in­ter­nal losses, which is about 20 per cent in pro­por­tion as SEC’s lo­cal gen­er­a­tion only edges at 60MW.

The scheme seeks to re­duce elec­tric­ity im­ports by E70 mil­lion per an­num.

About 70 per cent of the pro­ject cap­i­tal will be raised through the bank and 30 per cent from share­hold­ers which are the im­ple­ment­ing com­pa­nies, Old Mu­tual, Pub­lic Ser­vice Pen­sions Fund (PSPF) and the Swazi­land Na­tional Prov­i­dent Fund (SNPF). The lend­ing bank is Ned­bank. The power sta­tion is an­tic­i­pated to switch on at least dur­ing the last quar­ter of 2018 and the commercial op­er­a­tion date is an­tic­i­pated for mid-2019.

This is part of the util­ity’s gen­er­a­tion ex­pan­sion plan, which seeks to cut heavy re­liance on im­ported power.

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