A worker is shown at a concentrated solar power plant. Picture: SUPPLIED
A worker is shown at a concentrated solar power plant. Picture: SUPPLIED

The kingdom of eSwatini has called for bids to build 40MW of solar power capacity to reduce reliance on SA’s troubled state power firm, Eskom.

The kingdom, formerly known as Swaziland, imports 80%  of its electricity from SA, where the cash-strapped national supplier has implemented some of the worst rolling blackouts in years and has needed a state bailout to survive.

Sikhumbuzo Nkambule, communications and consumer affairs manager at the eSwatini Energy Regulatory Authority, told Reuters the solar project would cut electricity imports and boost job creation, and could also stimulate foreign investment. The bidding process will close on August 23.

The government wants Swaziland to produce 100% of its own power by 2034. The country plans to expand hydro-electric power generation from the Maguga Dam project, near the capital, Mbabane. Under the project, water from the dam would be used to generate an extra 20MW, Khaya Mavuso, a representative for eSwatini Electricity Company, told the Times of Swaziland newspaper.

From this month, the company would also gain access to an additional 10MW from a solar plant to be located in the southeast of the kingdom.
Reuters