The Minister of Minerals, Energy and Water Resources, Ponatshego Kedikilwe, last week officially commissioned and handed over the long awaited Orapa 90MW Power Station to Botswana Power Corporation (BPC). Speaking during the handover ceremony in Orapa, the Minister said that the power station comes at a time when Batswana are in dire need for electricity and it will help in providing the much needed back up for the Orapa Letlhakane Mines (OLM) and Batswana at large.
“The Power plant will mitigate and spare the country the drudgery of regular power shortages suffered in the recent years,” he said.
He said that the power outages have always adversely impacted on the mine and added that they have also impacted on different households in the country.┬á
The Minister further said that the Power Station will significantly quell the national outcry concerning the supply and demand mismatch, power outages and the dreadful load shedding. He complemented the project team for having constructed a high quality plant while they were cost efficient at the same time.
“The total budget for the project was P850 million but the overall cost at the end of the project amounted to P710 million and I wish to commend the project team for executing a project of this magnitude and complexity with a saving of P140 million, which in Botswana terms, is not small change,” Kedikilwe said.
The Minister also said that although the Orapa Power Plant is a huge success, there is still a lot of challenges with regard to the sufficiency of electricity in the country. He said that the country will need more electricity because of population increases and new projects that cry for connection to the national grid.
Kedikilwe said that the country continues to experience new prospects for mining and a high demand of electricity.
Among the other things the minister mentioned was that, after the completion of the 600MW Morupule Power Plant, hopefully the power supply situation in the country will normalize. He added that the government has set NDP10 targets to increase national electricity from 58.7 percent to 80 percent by 2016 and to achieve self reliance in electricity generation by 2012/13.
“It is against this background that government has introduced the P5 000.00 National Electricity Connection Cost effective from October 2010 to enable households to afford electricity connections,” Kedikilwe said.
The Orapa Power Station consists of two 45 MW dual fuel gas turbines which were designed and ┬ámanufactured by General Electric, a company from the United States of America. The Plant was built as part of the efforts between Government and Debswana to mitigate power supply shortages in the country. BPC will operate and maintain the power plant.