Wednesday, December 8, 2021

Morupule B’s Unit 4 awakens, set to plug the nation next month

The national power utility company – Botswana Power Corporation (BPC) has said that Unit 4, of the Morupule B power station will be plugged back to the national grid before the end of November this year.

BPC Chief Executive David Kgoboko informed the Parliamentary Committee on Statutory Bodies and State Enterprises that Unit 4, which has been in remedial works, is now being commissioned.

The troubled Morupule B plant has been fraught with problems since inception. The power station was supposed to be an answer to Botswana’s chronic power shortages but is yet to operate at full capacity since it was commissioned in 2014, with only two units operating at most. The Botswana government rejected the defective plant after the contractor tried to hand it over and has since instructed the contractor in 2019 to fix the plant.

Kgoboko said the return of Unit 4 to the national grid is a welcome development for BPC given the huge costs the corporation is currently incurring on power imports from South Africa and other neighbouring countries.

“The generation of the unit will result in significant drops in the cost of import, and the unit will be run by the Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) contractor for a period of three months,” Kgoboko said.

The contractor, China National Electric Engineering Company (CNEEC SBW), clinched the $970 million (P10.6 billion) contract to build the 600MW Morupule B power station in 2010, with the completion date set for 2012. However, the project took longer than expected, and ten years later, the country’s biggest coal powered station still needs some remedial work to make it fully functional.

Meanwhile the overall remediation of the other three units is to be completed by the end of 2023.

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