Dark times ahead

Baitshepi Sekgweng
SEEKING HELP: David Kgoboko

Power cuts to persist until 2027

Although last week’s widespread blackout which rendered much of the country powerless have been labeled a one-off anomaly, blamed on a problem along the Phokojwe-Matimba 400kv transmission line, power-cuts are expected to persist for the next four years.

Addressing the media on Tuesday, Botswana Power Corporation (BPC) CEO, David Kgoboko admitted supply challenges will continue for the foreseeable future.

Kgoboko explained this was due to remedial works at Morupule B, which have been on-going since 2019 and are not expected to be completed until 2026.

“As you know, in 2012, when we commissioned Morupule B, we noted construction defects which we discussed with the contractor and an agreement was reached that he will remedy the situation. As of now, only Unit 4 is done and we are observing it while we discuss design issues picked. We hope we will reach a conclusion soon, such that the same problems are not repeated on the next unit which will undergo remedial works,” said Kgoboko, adding Unit 2 is set to undergo repairs early next year.

- Advertisement -

In light of this, BPC are pinning their hopes on Independent Power Producers to step-up and fill the void.

“We are looking at a 50MW PV solar plant in Selibe Phikwe, which is set for phase 1 development. Once it is done, we will embark on another one for the same capacity in the same area. Another 100MW plant, which is at tendering stage, will be built in Jwaneng while negotiations are currently ongoing for a power purchase agreement with a developer of a 300MW coal fired power project which is expected to reach commercial date of operation in 2027,” revealed the CEO.

As it stands, BPC already has an agreement with Tlou Energy, which is developing a 10MW coal bed methane power generation station at Nyamakatse Ranch (100km West of Serowe) which is expected to deliver electricity into the grid in the first quarter of 2024.

Further, a 3MW and 1MW solar projects are already under construction in Bobonong and Shakawe as part of the implementation process of Integrated Resource Plan for energy transition.

Lobatse, Ghanzi and Maun’s 4MW solar PV projects are at financing stage, though power purchase agreements have already been signed, while a 50MW wind project is at feasibility study stage.

- Advertisement -

The country’s power consumption currently stands at 600MW, although projections indicate that demand could reach as high as 1, 228MW by 2040.

Adding to the conundrum, the power struggles come at a time of transition.

By 2030, Botswana aims to reduce coal use to 64 percent for power generation while increasing solar, wind and coal-bed methane to 31, 4 and 1 percent respectively. As it stands, 83 percent of power is generated from coal, 16 percent diesel and 1 percent solar.

- Advertisement -
Leave a comment