A number of renewable energy projects that Botswana kick-started in recent months through the Botswana Power Corporation (BPC) are expected to help the country make a significant progress in its decarbonisation bid. Decarbonisation is the reduction of carbon dioxide emissions through the use of low carbon power sources, achieving a lower output of greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere. Currently Botswana has up to fourteen projects that are under way which would result in a significant cut in carbon emissions.
Botswana is endowed with ample solar energy, and in that context, is expected to easily switch to renewable energy development. The country is reported to have abundant solar energy resources, receiving over 3,200 hours of sunshine per year with an average insulation on a horizontal surface of 21MJ/m2, one of the highest rates of insulation in the world. It is essential to take advantage of the abundance of this resource.
Given this findings, calls have been made to Botswana to consider developing a detailed renewable energy strategy as part of its overall energy framework. It has also emerged that the costs of renewable generation have come down so significantly in recent years that they can be cost competitive with traditional sources of generation.
Already the BPC is currently implementing a total of fourteen solar PV projects comprising of two 50MW utility scale solar PV plants and twelve grid-tied small scale (1 to 4 MW) solar PV plants which are part of the Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) on behalf of On behalf of the Energy ministry.
The projects, it has emerged, are not implemented through the Public Private Partnerships (PPPs) but are a contractual arrangement between BPC and Independent Power Producers (IPP) through a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA). BPC’s solar energy programme commenced in 2017 and to date, five PPAs out of a total of six procured projects have been signed. The PPAs are between BPC and two IPPs namely Sturdee Energy for the Shakawe (1MW), and Bobonong (3MW) projects and Akuo/Folosha for three projects in Lobatse (4MW), Maun (4 MW) and Ghanzi (4MW).