Sunday, May 16, 2021

Botswana’s power generation expected to increase

Between 2015 and 2023, overall power generation will more than double, to 5.3 terawatt hours (TWh), boosted by the inception of the thermal Mmashoro power station and the long-delayed Morupule B station. This is according to the latest power report which was released earlier this week. Meanwhile, consumption will rise steadily, underpinned by the development of industry and household consumption, which is benefitting from a rapid expansion of the electricity grid.

However, risks remain. “A lack of regulatory reform and the continued domination of the state-owned Botswana Power Corporation (BPC) means that the market remains inefficient and overly dependent on a single source of energy, namely coal, while the absence of a strong regulatory framework for the development of renewable energy will severely┬áhinder┬áthe development of alternative sources of energy,” the report reads.

“At the same time, losses from the grid will be enormous due to the rudimentary condition of transmission lines and widespread theft from the system.”

Power generation will increase by 366.1percent over the 10-year timeframe, reaching 5.26TWh in 2023. Power consumption will increase rise by 55.3 percent over the next decade to 5.2TWh. This implies potential for export of electricity by the end of the forecast period. Transmission and distribution losses in 2015 will be very high at 50.2percent of output and will decline only marginally in percentage terms over the 10-year forecast period.

The inception of the Morupule B coal-fired power station continues to falter. Problems with the boiler system resulted in a complete shutdown of all four units in October 2014, leaving Botswana without a domestic source of electricity and dependent on imports from South Africa. Two units were still out of service as of December. Undeterred, President Khama affirmed plans in October to build of an additional 300MW from a Brownfield site at Morupule B site, as well as 300MW from a Greenfield.

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