The newly planned mining projects aimed at lifting up the economy are expected to put pressure on the already existing energy demand and supply matrix, Botswana Power Corporation (BPC) Chief Executive Officer, John Kaludzi said.
He was speaking at the just ended International Association of Science and Technology Development (IASTED) conference, attended by captains of the resources suppliers, IT experts, and leading academics in the field of Science and Technology from universities in Australia, Canada, Czech Republic, France, South Africa, USA and Yugoslavia.
Kaludzi warned that energy demand across the region is expected to rise sharply in the upcoming years, thus impacting negatively on the country’s industrialisation plan.
“Projected load growth is expected to be higher as more mines are expected to open during the next two to three years because of the excellent metal prices,” Kaludzi said, adding that his quasi-government organization is embarking on the expansion of the Morupule station in a bid to meet national demands by 2010.
Botswana, whose load is growing at eight percent, is currently importing 70 percent of its electricity from South Africa
The power cuts will accelerate as South Africa is also battling with the mamonth task of staging the first Football World Cup on the African Continent in 2010. South Africa itself is exploring other possible sources of energy outside coal.
Dr Lawrence Masaba, of the Southern African Power Pool (SAPP), told the participants that Southern Africa is experiencing a diminishing generating surplus.
“The SAPP load is growing at the rate of 3% per annum which translates to 1200MW per annum.
This is a challenge that is facing the region,” Masaba said. He said strategies are being put in place by SAPP that will ensure that this region continues to meet the electrical energy needs.
Minister of Communications, Science and Technology, Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi said, there is need for the industry to collaborate with the universities in a number of areas.
Areas which she said they can collaborate on include producing knowledge through research, transfering knowledge through education and training between universities and industry and disseminating knowledge for the benefit of society.