The Minister of Minerals Energy and Water Resources, Kitso Mokaila told Kgatleng District Councillors Thursday during a full council meeting that as part of transforming the electricity sector and ensuring liberalised competitive energy market, his Ministry amended the Electricity Supply Act in 2007 to allow for Independent Power Producers(IPPs) partaking in energy supply, hence the development of the 300 Megawatts Greenfield Power projects by 2018 and 2020.
He explained that, “Currently Morupule ‘A’ Power Station is out of service and under care and maintenance. Efforts are underway to ensure that the plant is refurbished and up and running by 2016/17, with better reliability, reduced emission levels and economic lifespan of not less than 15 years. There is development of 300MW Morupule five and six-or Brownfield through IPPs; procurement of which is in process and the target is to have its power plant delivered by 2018.”
He further explained that his ministry is in the process of establishing an Independent Energy and Water Regulator as a step further to liberalise the energy market. The government, he said, has in principle agreed to its establishment and this has led to the drafting of the Bill which is being considered by Cabinet before presentation to Parliament.
Mokaila further explained that the Botswana government with sponsors from Africa Development Bank has completed a Bankable Feasibility Study which has recommended a 100 MW Solar Thermal Concentrating Power Plant.
“The project is in line with the NDP10 which wanted to explore Concentrated Solar thermal power to take advantage of the abundant solar resource in Botswana. Once the implementation of the project commences, it will add to the diversification of energy supply and energy security. The study is complete and the Ministry is reviewing the recommendations,” he said.
The Minister also highlighted on Renewable Energy Feed in Tariffs (REFIT) where he expounded that imminent power shortages and the Amendment of Electricity Supply Act has sparked a lot of interest from the private sector to invest in power generation projects through renewable energies, especially solar. This he said led to the Ministry receiving an influx of proposals.
“However, currently there are no institutional and regulatory framework and incentives to promote investment in renewable energy projects. Consequently the Ministry in 2010, commissioned a study on the development of renewable energy feed-in tariffs as the first step towards the promotion of renewable energy projects,” he elucidated.
The study’s objectives were to develop a sustainable cost effective tariff structure for all technically feasible renewable energy resources in Botswana and to develop a regulatory framework for all technically feasible renewable energy resources in Botswana.
He said the Cabinet approved the REFIT as a policy instrument in June 2012. Draft guidelines for implementing REFIT, the amount of tariff increase due to REFIT projects and processes for procuring from independent power producers have been completed to go through government structures for approval.
Minister Mokaila also pointed out the fact that initiatives to increase oil storage development project strategic stock to 60 days by 2016 are the construction of depots at Tshele Hills and Ghanzi. Construction of depots at Palapye and Francistown has been deferred until the economy recovers. However, funds have been secured for fencing the Palapye site and a tender was awarded to Joko and Sons in May 2012 at an estimated cost of P3million and the fencing project has been completed.