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Swaziland: Maguga Hydro Power Station officially opened

His Majesty King Mswati III officially opens the Swaziland Electricity Company (SEC) 20 MW Hydro Power Station at Maguga Dam.
Built in a record time of 26 months from 2004, Maguga Hydro Power Station produces 20 megawatts of electricity, which translates to 10 per cent of the overall national demand.

At its peak, the electricity demand for the whole of Swaziland is about 200 megawatts.

The 10 per cent produced at Maguga represents 30 per cent of the overall energy generated locally.
The other local hydro power plants include Ezulwini, which contributes 20 megawatts to the national grid, Dwaleni at 21 megawatts and Mbabane at 50 kW. The Elzulwine hydro plant is current not in operation.

Maguga Hydro Power Station is unique in that the dam was originally built by the Komati Basin Water Authority (KOBWA) for the benefit of sugarcane farmers downstream. While plans to construct the dam unfolded, it became clear that it had a massive potential for the generation of electricity. So the hydro power station came as a spin-off from the dam project, and the water released for irrigation downstream is used to drive turbines, thus producing electricity as well.

Another unique feature of the Maguga Hydro Power Plant is that, unlike the others, it is fully automated and remotely-operated.

There is no SEC employee stationed at Maguga, but it is remotely-controlled by a team of operators based at Ezulwini Hydro Power Station, also known as Luphohlo.

The power station was designed and built by Alstom Power Hydro Services, an international company which has its head office in Spain. The layout and power lines were designed by SEC engineers.

Another highlight of the project is that its construction had the full backing and involvement of the community leadership. More than 100 residents of Ekuvinjelweni and surrounding areas benefited from employment opportunities created during the construction period by Group Five, one of the contractors of the dam and downstream weir (wall across the stream). The whole arrangement turned out to be a win-win situation for both parties.

At the moment some explorations are being carried out for more hydrostations along the Great Usuthu River, next to Sidvokodvo, and Ngwempisi, in the Mankayane region. In fact, a feasibility study has been completed in one of these areas.

Additional information:
News date: 14/05/2011

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