The latest data from Statistics Botswana shows that imported electricity generation has declined in the first quarter of the year, continuing the downward trend that existed in the last quarter of 2022.
The index of Electricity Generation, a key indicator of electricity generation stood at 211.9 during the first quarter of 2023, reflecting an increase of 39.5 percent compared to 151.9 recorded during the same period in 2022.
On the other hand, in the first quarter of 2023, the physical volume of imported electricity decreased by 25.1 percent (92,022 MWH), from 367,001 MWH during the first quarter of 2022 to 274,978 MWH during the quarter under review.
On the quarter-on-quarter comparison, there is an increase of 10.2 percent, from the index of 192.2 during the fourth quarter of 2022 while on the imports side, there was a decrease of 0.5 percent (1,279 MWH), from 276,257 MWH during the fourth quarter of 2022 to 274,978 MWH during the current quarter.
A breakdown of the external power suppliers shows that the Zambia Electricity Supply Corporation Limited (ZESCO) was the main source of imported electricity at 62.4 percent of total electricity imports. South Africa’s Eskom accounted for 18.5 percent, while the remaining 7.3, 6.9, 3.8 and 1.0 percent were sourced from Cross-border electricity markets, Electricidade de Mozambique (EDM), Nampower, and the Southern African Power Pool (SAPP)
Cross-border electricity markets are an arrangement whereby towns and villages along the border are supplied with electricity from neighboring countries such as Namibia and Zambia.
The quarter–on–quarter perspective shows that local electricity generation increased by 10.2 percent (82,712 MWH), from 807,943 MWH during the fourth quarter of 2022 to 890,655 MWH during the period under review. This increase was mainly on account of the improvement of Botswana Power Corporation’s Morupule A and B power stations.
The nation’s mega power plant Morupule B is currently undergoing a remediation process at the contractor’s expense. The coal-powered plant was commissioned in 2012, gobbling nearly P10 billion, but has never been fully functional, with only half of the four units functioning most at a time.
Official electricity production figures show that Botswana has over the recent years been able to cut the volume of imported electricity with annual imports decreasing from the 2010s to 3,088,080 MW and levels of imported electricity falling to 1,527,697 MW in 2015.
“The downward trend indicates that the country’s continued effort to generate adequate electricity to meet domestic demand has led to the decreased reliance on electricity imports,” reads part of the Statistics Botswana report.