The BSE quoted gas explorer, Tlou Energy, continues to make impressive progress this year, announcing the commencement of the construction of its 66kV 100km transmission line from the Coal Bed Methane Lesedi project into the national electricity grid.
The project follows an agreement between the Botswana Power Corporation (BPC) and Tlou Energy in the last quarter of 2021 through a 10MW Power Purchase Agreement (PPA).
On Thursday, Energy Minister Lefoko Moagi led captains of the industry at the groundbreaking ceremony in Mogorosi village near Serowe where it was announced that the Tlou electricity supply line will tap power from the company’s CMB power generation project at Nyamakatse Ranch and run for 100km to Serowe Sub Station delivering power into the BPC grid. The preliminary work included site handover, assembling the project team and resources, mobilisation of plant and equipment, line survey and design, pole structure modeling and review approval. The erection of poles is expected to be performed in sections with work commencing on the Serowe end of the line and working towards Lesedi. The 100 km line is expected to use approximately 650 wooden poles and 80 steel structures involving excavation, positioning, assembly, dressing, planting, backfilling and compacting before stringing, tensioning and regulation.
Speaking at the ground breaking ceremony – Moagi admitted that while there is some risk, the project has been significantly de-risked and that it is appropriate that a large pension fund in the country has committed to play a part in the development of key infrastructure such as Lesedi Project.
Tlou Energy, which is partially owned by the Botswana Public Officers Pension Fund (BPOPF), was last year awarded a power purchase deal that will see it producing 10 Megawatt for BPC. The transmission line contractor is local contractor ZISMO Engineering. The CMB project once fully implemented is expected to help state owned BPC with a solution to the country chronic power shortages. According to the latest electricity and generation report for 2022 first quarter (Q1: 2022) produced by Statistics Botswana, the index of Electricity Generation – a key indicator of electricity generation – stood at 151.9 reflecting an increase of 8.2 percent compared to 140.3 recorded during the same period in 2021. The quarter-on-quarter comparison also shows an increase of 36.0 percent, from the index of 111.7 during the fourth quarter of 2021. The increase has been attributed to improved performance of power generators at the 600 MW Morupule B power station – the country’s biggest power generator powered by four units, and Morupule A. While the electricity generation data shows that the overall domestic power generation improved, it was not enough to meet total domestic demand, forcing the Botswana Power Corporation (BPC) to meet the shortfall through imports.