Botswana Power Corporation (BPC) has signed three power purchase agreements (PPA’s) for a period of 25 years with a French based Akuo energy company.
At a signing ceremony held in Gaborone on Thursday, BPC Chief Executive Officer (CEO) David Kgoboko said the PPAs are for the purchase and supply of power from three sites being Gantsi, Lobatse and Maun with a total capacity of 12 MW.
Kgoboko highlighted that the projects will be developed by AKUO energy, in partnership with a citizen owned company called Folosha Investments adding that the solar PV plants are expected to be in commercial operation by the end of 2023.
“The duration of each PPA is twenty-five (25) years, and these documents define all the commercial terms for the sale of electricity between the parties. We have made a commitment as a country to reduce energy related emissions in line with the Paris Agreement and COP26 commitments,”
He stated that these efforts clearly demonstrate their resolve towards reducing energy related emissions adding that thy have a firm conviction that the Solar PV Plants will improve security and reliability of energy supply, improve energy mix to reduce Botswana’s carbon footprint and also promote effective participation of Batswana in the economic growth and development of energy projects.
“These are exciting times for BPC, and we couldn’t be readier to play a pivotal role of off-taking power from Independent Power Producers (IPPs) thereby supporting government’s efforts to liberalize the Electricity Supply Industry,”
“We would like to reaffirm our support towards these reforms which are aimed at improving customer experience and providing affordable power to the nation. We also pride ourselves in empowering citizens across all our business operations. This suite of Solar PV plants presents yet another opportunity for citizen participation through the local content plan included in these Power Purchase Agreements,” added Kgoboko.
On the other hand, The Deputy permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Mineral Resources, Green technology and Energy Security Nchena Mothebe said the signing of the three (3) Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) between Botswana Power Corporation (BPC) and Akuo Energy is a noteworthy milestone in the drive to transition to a sustainable energy mix.
“It is worth noting that Government is continuously optimizing the policy environment to create a conducive environment and opportunities for private sector and citizen participation. Government through the National Energy Policy (NEP), intents to guide the management and development of Botswana’s energy sector for the period from 2020 to 2040, especially the penetration of new and renewable energy sources and to attain energy self-sufficiency as well as increased energy security,”
“These PPAs between BPC and Akuo Energy, showcase the Government’s Policy commitment to support and facilitate initiatives that increase the development of the on-grid and off-grid solar aimed to increase the contribution of solar energy to the total energy supply mix,” said Mothebe.
He also said government in pursuit of creating a conducive and efficient regulatory framework, established an independent regulatory authority in 2017, Botswana Energy Regulatory Authority (BERA).
“Since its inception, we are witnessing substantial private sector interest in the electricity supply industry which can be attributed to private sector confidence in the regulatory framework and environment. The Authority has to date issued 3 licenses for exporting IPPs (ERNC, Sese and Coal 4 Petroleum), 3 licenses for local generation (Tlou Energy, Sturdee Botswana for Shakawe and Bobonong plants) and has approved 3 PPAs for IPPs for local generation. This signals a progressive regulatory environment,”
“The implementation of the IRP has commenced with the ongoing solar PV projects with a combined capacity of 135MW. 50% of which have already been procured including the Maun, Lobatse and Ghanzi which the PPAs are being signed. The remainder are undergoing procurement. Commercial operation of the projects will commence in the current year (2022) and the 135MW capacity should be on the grid by mid-2024. Other projects include the envisaged 300MW Coal, 10MW CBM, 200MW CSP, 50MW wind projects and the 100MW Solar PV as identified in the IRP,” Mothebe said.
The latest PPA comes at a time when Botswana is yet to fully rely on locally generated electricity. In 2017, the power utility firm revealed that it was constantly upgrading its power generation plants to ensure they operate efficiently and sustainably. BPC’s main power station the – Morupule B have been undergoing remedial works. The troubled plant has been fraught with problems since inception despite the fact that it was supposed to be an answer to Botswana’s chronic power shortages.