Technical Assistance Facility: Comprehensive capacity building at ERA

The GET FiT Technical Assistance Facility is contributing to strengthening ERA in various key competence areas. ERA itself has been the most important driving force in this process, through a proactive and dedicated approach towards utilizing all aspects of received technical assistance in an efficient and fruitful manner, and being the main contributor to identification of areas for potential additional support. 

A. Due diligence of renewable energy projects
In 2014 Grontmij provided consulting services for optimization of the regulator’s project due diligence process under the GET FiT Technical Assistance Facility.  The task’s main objective was to develop ERA’s capacity for technical, environmental and social, and financial and economic due diligence of renewable energy generation projects, including hydro, bagasse, and biomass. Thus, this work aimed at enhancing the project assessment capacities and monitoring processes of ERA. 

The revised due diligence methodology and procedures (including due diligence manual and training manual) were developed during the fall of 2014, and a training seminar was held in November. The process concluded with a well-attended stakeholder workshop in Kampala during which ERA presented the new manuals and guidelines. Comments from developers were taken into consideration and a final report for the due diligence support was delivered and approved in December 2014. 


B. Solar PV Tender Agent
The Solar Tender Agent (Agut Energy Advisory Services) supported ERA, KfW and GET FiT in the design and implementation of the GET FiT Solar Facility as well as in building up of capacity at ERA to tender appraise and select solar PV projects in the future.

The tender was successfully concluded in 2014. To ensure capacity building ERA staff participated in the project site visits and were closely involved in the appraisal that resulted in the appraisal reports presented to ERA management and the GET FiT Investment Committee. A workshop will be implemented in early 2015 to formalize the on-the-job training received and finalize due diligence manuals for solar with ERA staff.   


C. Tariff Modelling
In 2014 a tender for consultancy services was launched to train ERA staff in tariff modeling, which will enable the regulator to regularly review the REFiT levels and maintain their cost-reflectiveness. This is key to attracting private investments in renewable energy after the GET FiT support ends and hence to ensure sustainability of the Program. The consultancy also includes renewable energy benchmarking services to develop credible and viable inputs for the REFiT as well the development of a best practice modeling tool for ERA´s economic regulation experts. A c
onsortium led by Frankfurt School-UNEP Collaborating Centre was selected as the preferred bidder in the independent evaluation and the inception mission was conducted in February.


D. Compliance monitoring of transmission and distribution companies
The Consultant for TA on due diligence recommended in his report to also address certain due diligence issues outside of scope of this assignment, most importantly with regard to compliance monitoring of distribution and transmission companies under their respective concessions. The target of such additional support would be to enable ERA to monitor the grid operators and their technical and financial performance in a more adequate manner. This will enable ERA to more properly address key areas of improvement in the overall grid operation, and to initiate efforts to reduce technical and commercial losses. This proposal is currently being discussed and has been proposed as an item for additional funding under the GET FiT interconnection support component (Chapter 2.3).


E. Interconnection Code and Standard Wheeling Agreement
As proposed part of the GET FiT interconnection component, terms of reference have been developed by ERA in cooperation with KfW for the preparation of the Interconnection Code & Standard Wheeling Agreement. This is the necessary response to the power evacuation issues faced for small renewable energy generation projects. The overall objective of the assignment is to enable proper and full evacuation of embedded generators in the future, at allowable national and international techno – economic standards. In particular, an eventual Interconnection Code and Standard Wheeling Agreement must detail the technical and economic requirements for connecting new (or previously isolated) generation facilities to the existing national grid. This includes direct connection to the transmission grid and/or through a third party facility (the distribution licensee) in which case it will involve both interconnection and wheeling aspects. The implementation of these standards are critical to ensure adequate integration of renewable energy generators, thus also critical to successful implementation of the GET FiT portfolio. On this basis, TA support to development and implementation of the Interconnection Code and Standard Wheeling Agreement has been included as a proposed investment under the GET FiT interconnection support component.

F. Professional twinning
Due to the presence of the GET FiT Secretariat at ERA House (headquarters), the GET FiT team has close and permanent communication ties with ERA. Further, ERA staff members have accompanied appraisal missions and will also do so for the upcoming supervision visits. ERA has assigned a GET FiT liaison team covering the various disciplines – technical, environment and social, and economics and finance – who meets regularly with the members of the GET FiT Secretariat to discuss pending issues and align information flow.