Tuesday, March 9, 2021

Jindal Botswana Mmamabula Energy Project to curb SADC power shortage

Due to a major power shortage in Southern Africa, ongoing discussions with the Botswana Government for the establishment of the Jindal Mmamabula Energy Project (JMEP) for Power Supply will provide an additional 300MW for the SADC region from 2015-16, says Jindal Botswana Business Head Tony Zerbet.

Zerbet who is a Chemical Engineer, said Jindal Botswana has submitted a Mining Licence Application to the Government to fully exploit its concession located in Botswana’s Mmamabula Coalfield, an extension of the South Africa’s Waterberg Coal Field which has a viable coal resource yielding close to 5 billion tonnes (Bt) including Mmamabula’s 2.7Bt.

\Jindal Botswana’s Energy Project involves a proposed 4 x 171MW power station and associated coal mine with an initial production of 4.5 mega tonnes per annum (Mtpa) ramping up to 14.5 Mtpa, with phase 1 of the power export project of 2 x 660MW. The economic logic of developing the Mmamabula Energy project stems from its proximity to the SA power transmission grid, a potential export conduit to the rest of Southern Africa.

In a recent interview, Zerbet confirmed: “Over and above Morupule B under construction by Botswana Power Corporation (BPC), an additional 300MW is needed from 2015-16. Nampower, Namibia’s power utility will need a further 300MW of capacity. Certain major energy users in SA have expressed an interest in direct electricity supply from Jindal Africa. SA’s power utility Eskom is going through a massive capacity expansion programme, if there are delays, SA could again have an urgent need to import electricity. As part of its Medium Term Risk Mitigation Strategy Eskom is planning to source 2500 MW from coal based power plants.

“In its quest to appreciate the richness and diversity of African energy resources, the Jindal Group has completed extensive studies in relation to all the various projects that can be supported by the Mmamabula Coal Field, a world class coal asset. The three key projects remain viable and await the necessary government and regulatory approvals and support. The need for, and benefits from, all the projects remain compelling and as timing for each project is now appropriate, Jindal Africa remains committed to these vital projects.”

Currently, new generation capacity is urgently required within the next 2 years. However, plant procurement and construction generally will take at least 3 to 4 years. IPP Development will generally introduce a delay of at least 1 year.

Jindal Botswana has also submitted to the Government Environmental Licences, 90% water allocation, and 100% LOI issued with BHEL (India) for the boiler and Siemens (Germany) for turbine & generator Transmission. Advanced studies are being undertaken between BPC, Eskom & Jindal.

In power supply transmission solutions created by the Jindal Africa Group in partnership with Eskom and BPC, there has been tight integration in preparation for the connection of JMEP grid networks in SA and Botswana. The connection to BPC will be by tie-in of 400kV line from Morupule B to Isang 2 x 400kV lines to the Botswana/SA border with the provision for long-term solution catering for future expansions.

Botswana power outlook based on potential generation mix to meet electricity demand in Botswana for the 2014 to 2033 shows forecast peak demand almost doubling from 681 MW to 1104 MW. NETGroup Electricity Demand Forecasts for Botswana show a similar trend from under 500 MW in 2007 to nearly 1300 MW in 2031. However, estimated capacity demands for the next five years making more imports and diesel generation likely.

Zerbet says Jindal is excited about investing in Botswana because of its political, financial stability, favourable foreign investment climate, with no exchange controls, favourable tax rate and rating by Moody’s. Transparency International also rates Botswana as having one of the lowest corruption indexes in the world. Furthermore, there is strong support by the Botswana Government for the development of the Mmamabula coal resource, including meaningful fiscal incentives.

The Jindal Group which is home to India and has a presence in 19 countries has an operating profit of US$3.2 billion (Bn) (P26 bn); $6.65 Bn (P50 Bn) net worth; $21 bn (P170 Bn) in total assets and $27 Bn (P200 Bn) Market Cap.

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