Government has allayed fears of anticipated non friendly carbon emission that is expected when Morupule B power station comes on stream in the fall of 2013.
The Minister of Minerals, Energy and Water Resources, Ponatshego Kedikilwe, said secure health safety, indicating all possible remedies, have been put in place to lessen carbon emissions coming out of the plant.
“As you might be aware, we have been in constant touch with Japan, which produces large quantities of coal to produce electricity, but with little emission to cause health hazards to the inhabitants,” said Kedikilwe.
“They would be assisting us with their modern technologies on how the operations of the plant work for the safety of our nation,” said the minister.
Contributing to the bills, Serowe South MP, Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi, and Kanye South MP, Abram Kesupile, raised alarm over the emissions the plant may produce with Venson-Moitoi calling on the minister to act swiftly over the issue.
Government of Botswana was seeking authority from parliament to borrow P931 million and P1.45 billion from World Bank and African Development Bank, respectively.
The construction of coal fired Morupule B power station went into top gear early in the year at the ground breaking ceremony outside Palapye.
When complete, Morupule B will be four times the size of the current power station (Morupule A) with a 600 MW capacity meaning that the coal resource will need to be expanded at the coal mine.
The 4 x 33 MW units Morupule Power Station that was commissioned in 1986 is the only power station that Botswana has creating a supply deficit that is filled by Eskom.
BPC says coal production at Morupule Colliery (owned by Debswana) will be expanded from the current 600, 000 tonnes per year to 3 millions tonnes per year.
From Morupule, the power line will link up with Phokojwe Sub Station, where electricity will be processed, with another substation at Mmamashia.
CNEEC-SBW consortium, the project contractors, has already assembled machinery with about 300 Batswana expected to be hired during the construction phase of the project.
About 1800 Chinese nationals will be working on site. Botswana’s heavy reliance on imports (80 percent) was visible from 2008 when it witnessed massive power shedding that disrupted economic activity simultaneously affecting households.
“The situation will not improve significantly and will in fact get worse in winter 2010 and 2011 if demand is not well managed until completion of this plant,” said Kedikilwe.
Morupule B will be built at a cost of over P11 billion to be financed by 50 percent debt and 50 percent equity.
The Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) and Standard Bank plc consortium has provided a debt portion of the project.
Government, which will contribute 50 percent to the project, is being assisted by World Bank and African Development Bank in raising the equity portion.
Critics blame government for power outages saying it was fooled by South Africa to continue importing electricity as by then tariffs were lower compared to building own power stations.
Recently, Botswana Power Corporation (BPC) signed an agreement with Societe Nationale d’Electricite of the Republic of Congo and Electricidade de Mocambique of Mozambique to keep the country lit up after Eskom reduced exports to Botswana.