BPC admits problems at Morupule B Power Station
by Jerry Bungu
Botswana Power Corporation has released a chronicle of failures at Morupule B Power Station giving an indication that the power station might not be on stream soon.
In a press release, BPC says Unit 1 of the power station was connected to the BPC system on 27 February 2012 and disconnected on 2nd March 2012. It was again put on stream on 12th March 2012 followed by a reliability test.
The Unit has been able to generate 150 MW but was disconnected from the grid to allow for the integration of Morupule B to the grid. This outage ran from 15th April 2012 to 5th May 2012
“Following the transmission grid outages to enable the integration of Morupule B Plant, Unit 1 was connected for the third time on the 8th May 2012 and was shutdown on the 10th May 2012. Excessive high temperatures caused a mixture of coal, ash and limestone in some parts of the boiler to form a hard and rocky material, which rendered the boiler inoperable. Under the circumstances, a shutdown was inevitable. Remedial measures have been taken to avoid recurrence,” BPC says.
Unit 2 was connected to the BPC system on 21st May 2012 however before reliability test was started it was shutdown on account of a leak in one of the water heating sub-systems which started on 26th May.
“Commissioning of Unit 2 recommenced on 23rd June 2012 and is currently connected to the BPC system generating up to 150 MW. It should however be understood that as the unit is being commissioned, there will be times when it will be disconnected from the grid,” BPC says.
BPC says the commissioning of the two units should be completed by the end of August, barring the unforeseen. The construction of units 3 and 4 is well under way and they should be commissioned by the end of the third and fourth quarter of 2012 respectively.
BPC has also confirmed the resignation of the project manager for Morupule B, Glenn Black who has since been replaced with Modiri Badirwang, who has been part of the project from inception. BPC also admits that there have been environmental violations at the Morupule B construction site.
“Appropriate remedial actions, as well as close monitoring, are already being undertaken, including excavation and rehabilitation of the contaminated sites,” says BPC.
Given these problems it remains to be seen whether Botswana will be self-sufficient in power supply when Eskom will eventually switch off Botswana at the end of the year.