While the Botswana Power Corporation (BPC) is excited about a new solar power project that the power utility is preparing to undertake, the same cannot be said about the chairman of the Parliamentary Committee on Statutory Bodies and Public Enterprise ÔÇô Samson Moyo Guma.
Guma, a ruling party seasoned politician who once chaired the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) ÔÇô the all time ruler in Botswana, cautioned the state owned power utility company against going ahead with the project labelling it as a waste of tax payer’s money.
“Is this solar power project urgent? Why can’t we address the issue of Morupule B which has an output of 800 megawatts with Morupule A once in operation”, said Guma.
Guma’s sentiment comes after the BPC CEO told the parliamentary committee that the utility has identified two sites for 200 megawatts solar power stations as the country drums up to renewable energy.
BPC Chief Executive Officer – Dr Stefan Schwarzfischer informed the committee that the move was taken after feasibility studies and environmental impact assessment was done in four sites.
Schwarzfischer indicated that the solar plant will be built in joint venture between BPC and a private entity at a tune of US$ 110 million.
He stated that BPC is expected to own the majority shares of the solar plant. According to him the BPC will not need government subvention as they have already made stride on acquiring loan from the private sector.
“Initially we had validated four sites where Orapa and Jwaneng scored the highest in the environmental impact assessment hence choosing the two sites”said Schwarzfischer.
According to Schwarzfischer this move to roll up solar energy compliments the government vision to increase substantially the share of renewable energy in the global energy.
Guma however quizzed why BPC was investing on solar energy when the country’s is experiencing difficulty with Morupule B which if combined with Morupule A could produce 800 megawatts.
According to Guma there was no reason why BPC should use tax payer’s money when Morupule B was still a burden to the government.
However, Schwarzfischer maintained that they were not going to get money from the government to fund the project.
He said that the money will be raised by BPC, but Guma maintained that BPC was a public enterprise that is funded by public offers.
Guma indicated that there was no need to go ahead with the project arguing that it is not urgent.
He said that currently, Morupule B which has a capacity to supply the demand continues to bleed government while BPC on the other hand want commit to other project that will need financial assistance from the government.
Guma indicated that BPC should put the solar project on halt until they sort out the Morupule B power station mess.