It is my pleasure to be here today with our partners from the Ministry of Natural Resources & Energy and the Swaziland Energy Regulatory Authority to participate in the official handover of the National Electricity Grid Code to the Government of the Kingdom of Swaziland. This is indeed a very important event for Swaziland, as well as the United States Government, as our two governments have been working closely together to address issues of climate change mitigation through green energy technology. Specifically, today’s Grid Code handover is about enhancing the capacity of the Government of Kingdom of Swaziland to create an enabling environment that will invite in more private sector players to help promote the development green energy in the country.
This Grid Code is essential to the generation of clean energy in Swaziland. It is one of the fundamental regulatory documents setting the rules for the electric grid operator and its users: defining technical standards, connection, operation and maintenance rules, information exchange protocols, market relations and much more.
Most importantly, the National Electricity Grid Code includes rules for renewable energy producers to connect to the grid. This is critical to attract the investment of independent power producers in the sector and to open the door for more competition. Currently, independent power producers wishing to sell to the grid must negotiate individual agreements with the Swaziland Electricity Company, a process that takes time and effort by both parties. The Grid Code eliminates this barrier by laying down a transparent and consistent set of guidelines that can be used by all potential users of the energy system, increasing access and shortening the application process. The US government is proud to have partnered with Swaziland to complete this vital regulatory initiative.
US Agency for International Development’ (USAID) Southern Africa Trade Hub is also working closely with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Energy to develop a Renewable Energy and Independent Power Producers policy for Swaziland. During the development of this policy, SERA identified the development of the Grid Code as a high priority in need of urgent development.
Through technical assistance and advisory support, including training and validation workshops, USAID’s Southern Africa Trade Hub responded to this priority recommendation, collaborating with SERA to create the guidelines. After SERA and the Trade Hub drafted the Grid Code, a public review of the code was conducted in an open and transparent process. This insured that the Grid Code addressed the concerns of diverse energy stakeholders and incorporated improvements suggested by members of the community.
It was essential for the Grid Code to be objective, transparent, non-discriminatory, consistent with government policy, relevant, and well-defined. We are proud to say that the completed Grid Code meets these high standards, and we believe it will serve as an important part of Swaziland’s renewable energy landscape for years to come. Swaziland is a country with considerable natural resources that can be utilized for clean energy generation including hydro, biomass, solar, and wind.
With the Grid Code now available to help users lock into the system and begin producing energy, the country can take advantage of these natural resources and produce more of Swaziland’s energy right here at home. An increase in clean electricity generation by independent power producers will contribute to energy security, climate change mitigation, economic growth, trade competitiveness, poverty reduction, and food security in Swaziland.
Please join me in congratulating our colleagues and counterparts on this highly successful collaboration and welcoming a new era for clean energy generation in Swaziland.