Saturday December 16, 2017

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Dept of Energy

The concern on Climate Change and diminishing power capacity and be addressed through renewable energies. Renewable energy offers nearly unlimited supply of energy if one considers the energy needs of mankind compared to the energy we receive from the sun. Renewable energy resources include traditional biomass e.g. firewood, wood-waste from the forest industries, bagasse from the sugar industries; hydropower from water and new renewables such as solar and wind. There is a significant scope for increased renewable energy use in Swaziland. Renewable energy will play an important role in the world’s energy supply in the near future mainly because of environmental concerns associated with conventional energy use. The Ministry will therefore continue to initiate, implement and support renewable energy projects and initiatives.

The Ministry formulated a strategic framework and Action Plan with regards to renewable energy development in the country to address access to energy.
The Ministry therefore seeks to: -

  • Develop a renewable energy information programme and will establish and maintain an appropriate renewable energy information system.
  • Establish a centre for demonstration and education on renewable energy and sustainable energy
  • Encourage and enhance, where applicable, topics on renewable energy and energy in general in educational and training curricula.
  • Maximise the use of renewable energy technologies wherever they are viable
  • Promote greater understanding and awareness of renewable energy resources and the associated technologies;
  • Develop and maintain accurate renewable energy resource data and make it available to all, so as to make informed policy decisions regarding sustainable energy use and supply.
  • Develop woodlots in areas where there is an acute fuel wood shortage.


Solar Energy

Solar Energy has great potential for widespread use in Swaziland.  Experience through Pilot Projects has demonstrated that careful planning and consultation when developing rural solar installations are very important.  In particular, community participation and ownership are key ingredients to success and sustainability. Investigations are underway with a view to developing a large-scale grid-connected demonstration PV plant in Swaziland.

Preliminary investigations have shown that there is a large potential for the use of solar water heaters in residential and commercial buildings. Presently, water heating in residential and commercial buildings is carried out through electric water heaters, which in turn creates a large electricity demand that could otherwise be reduced.  Government will encourage a wider use of solar water heaters in residential and commercial buildings through promotional means for private sector initiatives.

The Ministry is currently undertaking a feasibility study and Action Plan for a solar energy programme for the country. The study will look at the sustainable use of solar technologies in the country.  Funding is being sought for a solar schools programme to develop and implement a programme for electrification of ten schools in rural areas using solar technologies.


Pre-Electrification Using PV Systems

This programme involves the electrification of remote areas where it is still too costly to bring in grid electricity. It will involve the evaluation of private sector participation and identify possible areas for co-operation in the marketing and distribution of solar home power systems. This programme will also be undertaken with SEC to test the technical, financial and operational feasibility of offering solar home systems in lieu of the main electrical connections as well as enlightening the public on how the two technologies complement each other. It is anticipated that the cost of solar photovoltaic systems will continue to fall; yet even at present prices it still makes economic sense to use solar electricity for small applications such as lighting. An important aspect of the project would be to investigate ways in which the private sector can assist in the project perhaps by operating as sub-contractors.

Government and SEC will work together on technical requirements for PV systems to ensure that electricity and solar systems are able to coexist and complement each other.

Wind and Solar Resource Assessment

For maximum, cost-effective use to be made of renewable energy resources, a comprehensive knowledge of the resources is required.  In Swaziland, there is a considerable lack of such resource data. This makes it difficult to design cost effective renewable energy systems and to plan for the integration of renewable energy into the national energy balance. To assist in system sizing, economic viability assessment and evaluations, a solar and wind resource monitoring programme should be initiated. The Ministry is working in close collaboration with the National Meteorological Service, on this programme, to determine whether there is any realistic potential for effective utilisation of solar and wind energy in the country.

A wind and solar resource monitoring programme has been initiated to focus on the Lubombo Plateau plus one other moveable station for identifying areas that are particularly windy to make an accurate assessment of the wind power generation potential.  Local funding will be required to monitor the project and to obtain external assistance when preliminary data is being analysed during the plan period.

There is an ongoing project that will install wind measuring equipment at strategic points along the Lubombo Plateau for data collection regarding wind power generation.

e)     Biomass Energy

There is a need to develop detailed policies and measures for the production and distribution of commercial cooking fuel. Detailed feasibility studies are proposed that will investigate and define in sufficient detail a series of measures that might prove beneficial for the future utilisation of commercial firewood (or fuels derived from agro-forestry residues).

Following these investigations the proposed measures can be tested as a pilot project, limited to certain regions initially. The specific activities include:
•    Developing commercial cooking fuel distribution.
•    Woodstove performance enhancement
•    More efficient use of biomass.

GTZ ProBEC (Programme for Basic Energy and Conservation) is a SADC regional programme implemented by the German Technical Co-operation (GTZ) in the SADC region funded by the German and Norwegian Governments. In Swaziland, GTZ has partnered with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Energy to implement the programme. ProBEC manages projects based on basic energy conservation (charcoal, firewood, etc.) in 8 member states of SADC. Currently ProBEC is actively involved in Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania and Zambia.

The Programme for Basic Energy and Conservation (ProBEC) concentrates on low-income biomass energy users. ProBEC’s first component consists of the promotion of efficient energy devices, primarily associated with cooking, such as, wood-fired and charcoal stoves, solar cookers and heat retention devices. In order to do this, ProBEC adopts a commercial approach. In order to develop a market, ProBEC builds capacity by training producers to manufacture energy saving cooking devices and in parallel, ProBEC stimulates the demand for these devices through raising awareness to potential users. The programme is planned to run for two and a half years until December 2010.

Measures to counter the deforestation in the country through investigations in the wood fuel market chain in the country, the possibility of licensing wood fuel sellers, alternative cooking fuel options and wood lots pilot projects in areas of acute wood fuel shortages, are under development.

Biofuels
Biofuels are plants that can be grown specifically for oil extraction to use as a fuel, e.g. maize, rape seed, sunflower seed, and Jatropha curcas. Some of the oils can directly substitute petroleum fuels like paraffin and diesel, although blending with other fuels is the predominant method of using bio-fuels. Ethanol can be produced from molasses, a by-product of sugar manufacturing and from maize. There are presently two companies in the country producing ethanol from molasses; Royal Swaziland Sugar Corporation (RSSC) and USA Distillers. 

Ethanol can be used as a supplement for petroleum; but it must be ensured that the blended fuel meets the required specifications for the country’s vehicles. The use of ethanol will have positive environmental effects and also benefit the balance of payments and economic development in the industries concerned. Ethanol blending with petroleum takes place in some countries and many of the technological problems have been resolved. The commercial introduction of this option at a 10% blend of ethanol with unleaded petrol (E10) in the local market is therefore the main issue.

In the short term Government will conduct further investigations on blending ethanol with petrol with a focus on introducing products in the local markets

A “Farming for Energy” study was conducted by the Ministry. The aim of this study was to identify suitable crops for a Biofuels market in the country with our current land availability, rain patterns and soil conditions. The study recommended the following crops as suitable for the production of bio fuels in the country: sunflower, safflower, Soya beans, sesame seeds and Jatropha curcas for bio diesel and sugar cane, sweet sorghum, maize and cassava for the production of ethanol. The study further recommended that the blending ratios be 5% bio diesel with 95% mineral based diesel and 10% ethanol with 90% unleaded petrol. The production of Biofuels will provide the country with a chance to diversify its agriculture.

A Biofuels Task Force was approved by Cabinet. The Task Force is responsible for the development of the Biofuels Industry in Swaziland. It will also advise Government on the legislation that is required to ensure sustainability of the Industry.

The Ethanol Blending pilot project is a joint venture between Swaziland Government and Royal Swaziland Sugar Corporation (RSSC).  The project entails testing a fuel blend consisting of 10% ethanol (without water) with 90% unleaded petrol on a selection of Government and RSSC vehicles.  To make it suitable for use in vehicles, it goes through a water removal process in an anhydrous plant, before the anhydrous (water free) ethanol is blended with unleaded petrol. Ethanol produced in Swaziland is a by-product of the sugar production process therefore does not compete with food security.

Aim of project:

  • To introduce a locally produced and environmentally friendly component into the fuel pool,
  • To reduce reliance on fuel imported from South Africa as well as to reduce fossil fuel emissions.
  • To serve as a public awareness campaign for bioethanol


The project began in 2007. Government, along with RSSC, have also are using a selection of its vehicles to be used in this pilot project. These cars will only run on the E10 blend and will be monitored at various service intervals. The vehicles being used in the project are normal vehicles and no modifications have been made to them. The National Association of Automobile Manufacturers in South Africa (NAAMSA) also gave Government a go ahead to blend with 10% ethanol. This blend ratio is suitable for vehicles and does not require cars to make modifications to their engines.

Various parameters will be tested during this project which includes fuel consumption, engine wear and tear, power output and emissions. The ultimate aim of this project is to introduce a locally produced and environmentally friendly component into the fuel pool, to reduce reliance on fuel imported as well as to reduce fossil fuel emissions.

The Ministry is also developing a National Biofuels Strategy and Action Plan, with the assistance of UNDP, which will ensure that a sustainable (social, economical and environmental) biofuels industry is developed in the country.

Bagasse-Fired Thermal Power Station

Swaziland has abundant sources of waste from agro-industries that could be used for power production. These industrial wastes include bagasse from processing sugar-cane and wood-waste from the timber processing industries. A pre-feasibility study for a 100 MW bagasse-fired power plant concluded that a 54 MW plant could be built at Simunye sugar factory, an 85 MW plant at Mhlume sugar factory and a 30 MW plant at Ubombo Sugar Plant. A recent study (2007) conducted by AFREPREN/FWD, supported by the Global Environment Facility through the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) and the African Development Bank (AfDB) under the Cogen for Africa project, indicated that the potential for cogeneration in Swaziland can be as high as 185 MW. Indications show that the bagasse and wood-waste may have to be supplemented by other forms of fuel such as coal and Natural Gas.

Natural Gas
A feasibility study into the construction of a natural gas pipeline from Mozambique to Swaziland and a gas study market was undertaken to assess the amount of gas required in the country. Natural gas can replace the imported coal in the industry generating power and paraffin in the industrial site at Matsapha. A cross border agreement between the two countries will be entered into once a company is identified that will invest in the pipeline. Government has to invest in a public – private sector partnership on this project. 

Hydro-Power Generation- Mini- Micro Schemes

The goal for the Ministry is that access to electricity is made available to all citizens of the country by 2022.  The Ministry established a database on the potential of developing mini-micro hydropower electricity schemes.  The target was to pin point specific sites around the country where the river basin that exist can be used to generate electricity and further quantify the cost related to establishing the respective electricity schemes.  A report was produced from the study and 35 sites were identified.  The capacity of the schemes identified ranged between 0.032MW to 1.525MW.

A desktop approach was used to identify these sites hence there was a need to further investigate the sites and quantify the capacities practically.  The Ministry in 2006 engaged the consultants to investigate two sites that were seen to be having a high capacity at a reasonable cost.  The sites were along the Ngwempisi River.  The objective of the Ministry was to develop one these sites into a pilot project.  Unfortunately, before the study was completed the consultants noted that the environmental conditions would not permit that either of these sites could be developed into the pilot project.  The river was found to be one of the rivers that is protected as it still has its habitat in tact and undisturbed.

The Ministry then changed the scope of the consultants to now determine from the remaining sites the feasibility of developing them into the electricity schemes.  The study will cover the environmental investigations, and the actual cost that would be required to develop each of these sites.  With that information, it would be then possible to identify the right project to be used as a pilot.  The report will further rank the sites according to their capacity, cost and impact to the community should the site be approved as the pilot project.

The three sites identified were Mbuluzi, Lusushwana and Mnjoli Dam. In the feasibility study all these sites were investigated and ranked accordingly. Mnjoli was cheaper to develop compared to the other sites as a result Mnjoli has picked as the pilot project site. The developments are ongoing to build a 0.5 MW mini hydro scheme at Mnjoli Dam.
A tender for a detailed design for the Mnjoli dam has been advertised and the response was encouraging. It is expected that the final design will commence in December 2009 and is expected to be completed in May 2010.

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