Eswatini picks Globeleq and Sturdee Energy Consortium as preferred bidder for its solar projects tender

ESWATINI – The Eswatini Energy Regulatory Authority (ESERA) has officially announced the Globeleq and Sturdee Energy Consortium as the preferred bidder for its solar PV projects.

ESERA officially released the intention to award notice on 14 April 2021 after evaluation of the bids submitted in November 2020 for the two 15MWac projects in the first tranche of the Kingdom of Eswatini’s procurement programme for new renewable generation capacity. 

The tender was originally launched in March 2020.

Jonathan Hoffman, Globeleq’s chief development officer, commented: “As the first utility scale renewable IPPs in Eswatini, these projects will help stabilise the cost of electricity supply and increase the country’s energy resilience, acting as a strong driver for growth and playing a part in the economic recovery following the COVID-19 pandemic.”

The 15MWac Balekane and 15MWac Ngwenya projects will be located on separate parcels of private land in North Western Eswatini, in the Hhohho region, and connected to the existing Eswatini Electricity Company (EEC) transmission system.

Connection works will be undertaken by the Globeleq-Sturdee consortium and once commissioned, the new transmission lines and associated substation equipment will be transferred to the EEC, which will be responsible for their operation and maintenance.

“The projects will help stabilize the cost of electricity supply and increase the country’s energy resilience, acting as a strong driver for growth and playing a part in the economic recovery following the COVID-19 pandemic”

Eswatini’s decision to act on its past commitment to invest in renewable energy and expand the ratio of renewables in the country’s electricity to 50% by no later than 2030 can only yield positive results for its population that amounts to roughly 1.42 million.

Given the long-standing energy crisis in Eswatini, an unlimited natural resource such as solar is the most feasible backup to recover the lost economic opportunities for the country. Solar energy is available in abundance on a continent like Africa.

It is still puzzling that most African countries have not exploited this resource. Even more so puzzling for a country like Eswatini that has more than one successful hydro power plan.

A further benefit of a diversified power generation approach means that Eswatini can rely less on imported power while creating more jobs for locals for the construction and operation of the plant. 

Renewable energy will also meet the country’s environmental clean energy goals which will reinforce economic growth.

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