Despite having ambitions of being a regional net exporter of electricity by 2020, recently released production figures show that the country still has a mountain to climb before achieving that target.
According to a survey conducted by Statistics Botswana on the output of power at Morupule B, power generation at the embattled Power Plant has recorded a significant drop to 105.5 during the first quarter of the 2016/17 fiscal year from 167.8 during the last quarter of 2015.
“Local electricity generation decreased from 167.8 during the last quarter of 2015 to 105.5 during the first quarter of 2016.”
During the first quarter of 2016, the index of electricity generation stood at 105.5. This reflected a year-on-year decrease of 14.5 percent when compared to 123.4 recorded in the corresponding quarter of 2015. According to the survey, “The quarter-on-quarter index of electricity generation decreased by 37.1percent when the period under review is compared to the preceding quarter.”
The drastic drop was mainly exacerbated by plant failures at the Morupule B power station which occurred earlier this year in February and March. During the same time, only one unit was in operation at the power plant while the rest were undergoing maintenance.
The report also shows that during the first quarter of 2016, the volume of imported electricity amounted to 523, 736MW, when compared to 451, 092MW recorded during the same quarter in 2015 ÔÇô representing an increase of 16.1 percent (72, 644MW). There was also an increase in volume of imported electricity from 335, 931MW in 2015’s fourth quarter to 523, 736MW in 2016’s first quarter. The 55.9 percent increase or (187, 805MW) was attributed to operational challenges at Morupule B power plant.
Part of the report reads, “The increase in imported electricity was necessary to mitigate against the shortage of locally generated electricity resulting from the operational challenges at the Morupule B power plant.”
SADC also recently reported that the status of power demand and supply in the member states (mainland) grew by a weighted average of 3 percent per annum during 2014/15. An issue paper published by SADC’s organ on water and energy further shows that the region’s supply and demand is expected to grow at the same rate in 2015/16.