The Vice President of Botswana Mokgweetsi Masisi says Botswana needs over P4 billion to address the unprecedented water and electricity challenges facing the country. This revelation comes on the backdrop of a study conducted by Statistics Botswana which showed that the volume of electricity imported by the Botswana Power Corporation rose by 16.1% as the internal power generation index dropped by 37.1%, from 167.8% in the last quarter of 2015 to 105.5 in the first quarter of 2016.
Masisi also revealed that Botswana aspires to be a net exporter of power by 2020, adding that the government is currently expanding the country’s energy mix by tapping into their abundance renewable energy sources. Although it varies by season, Botswana’s national power demand is reported to be between 550 and 620MW.
However the breakdowns at the embattled Morupule B Power Plant have forced Botswana to import power from Eskom in South Africa. According to a report compiled by Statistic Botswana, “During the first quarter of 2016, the volume of imported electricity amounted to 523,736 MWH, when compared to 451, 092 MWH recorded during the same quarter in 2015. This represented an increase of 16.1 percent. The index of electricity generation stood at 105.5, reflecting a year-on-year decrease of 14.5 percent when compared to 123.4 recorded in the corresponding quarter of 2015.”
The Vice President also revealed that they have already reached an agreement with the Public Private Partnership (PPP) to generate power through gas, solar and coal. It is reported that Botswana currently has as estimated 200-billion tonnes of coal. Masisi also said government has started the process of setting up “power stations of solar, gas and coal-fired ones.”
The Botswana Power Corporation (BPC) usually produces 470 MW of power from the Morupule B Power Plant. However, the decrease in local power generation was largely influenced by plant failures at the plant which occurred during the months of February and March 2016. At the end of the first quarter, only one unit was in operation, while the rest were undergoing remedial works.