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ESERA REVIEWING POWER MARKET PLAYING FIELD

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MBABANE - As the energy market evolves and the sizes of generation plants from alternative energy sources increase, ESERA is now reviewing the country’s grid code.

The Eswatini Energy Regulatory Authority (ESERA) is a category ‘A’ public enterprise which was established in terms of the Energy Act of 2007. An individual consultant is needed for the review of the Eswatini grid code; network code and renewable power plant code. This is as per an invitation shared on the Eswatini Public Procurement Regulatory Agency (ESPPRA) website. Online sources define a grid code as a technical specification which defines the parameters a facility connected to a public electric grid has to meet to ensure safe, secure and economic proper functioning of the electric system. The facility can be an electricity generating plant, a consumer, or another network.

The Eswatini Electricity Supply Industry is currently undergoing several market structure changes driven by policy reforms and increased uptake of distributed electricity generation, among other drivers. The National Energy Policy, 2018 seeks to ensure a liberalised sector with a high presence of local generation capacity to ensure security of supply. On the distributed energy generation aspect, customers are increasingly installing embedded generators for own use with the desire to export excess electricity to the national grid.

Industry

Technical regulation of the electricity supply industry is said to be necessary to ensure compliance to the grid code and applicable technical standards to ensure safe, quality and reliable supply of electricity throughout the system. The Grid Code covers a range of technical, operational, commercial and governance issues, and is broken down into the following subcodes: the Preamble, the Network Code, the System Operations Code, the Metering Code, the Market Code, the Renewable Power Plant Code, the Information Exchange Code and the Governance Code. Of major interest in this assignment is the technical aspects of connection to usage and impact on performance of the grid by independent power producers and contestable customers. ESERA has over the past three years developed regulatory instruments, some of which have recommended that certain amendments be effected to the Grid Code for their effective implementation.

As the energy market evolves and the sizes of generation plants from alternative energy sources increase to utility scale projects, lessons have been learnt on network integration and performance of such plants which often necessitate the reviewal of relevant grid code documents. The Eswatini Grid Code was adopted in 2016 and in light of developments in renewable energy technologies, the review and amendment of some aspects of the grid code are required. The revised grid code should ensure a safe, secure, and reliable operation of the network and also provide market participants with clear, transparent, non-discriminatory and predictable rules to support renewable power integration to the grid.

“The revised Network Code (NC) and Renewable Power Plant Code (RPPC) should promote non-discriminatory access to the transmission and distribution grid, and further aid in creating a level playing field among power market participants. The codes are expected to provide certainty and help to reduce regulatory and investor risks to participate in the local power market,” reads the invitation in part. Eswatini has network interconnectors with Mozambique and South Africa (SA) and is a member of the Southern African Power Pool (SAPP). Therefore, it is critical that the country’s grid code is in harmony with those of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) member states and the regional grid code.

Through the Governance Code, a Grid Code Review Panel (GCRP) was established to review and recommend amendments to the grid code for the Regulator’s approval, among other functions. The GCRP is a stakeholder representative panel, consisting of persons representing market participants. The ongoing procurement of new generation capacity in Eswatini is likely to result in increased grid code compliance related matters, and it is important that the capacity of the GCRP is strengthened to ensure that ESERA receives the necessary advisory support. All enquiries relating to this tender should be directed in writing to Ntokozo Sonke Dlamini via email at DlaminiNS@esera.org.sz and Sihle Magagula at magagulas@esera.org.sz before Tuesday, March 1, 2022. All bids should be in by March 8, 2022 at noon.

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