Electric avenue

Baitshepi Sekgweng
BURNING BRIGHT: Morupule Power Station

The country’s efforts to generate enough electricity to meet domestic demand are gathering momentum, sparking a drastic decrease in the amount of power being imported.

Botswana requires 600MW of ‘motlakase’ a year, an amount we have struggled to produce locally, with the finger of blame mainly pointed at Morupule B’s failures.

Because of this, Botswana Power Corporation (BPC) have traditionally looked south, to Eskom for help.

However, with the South African utility now experiencing its own power crisis, Botswana has made efforts to achieve power security and sufficiency by improving the output of both Morupule A and B power stations.

Statistics Botswana indicate progress is quickly being made, with imported electricity in the last quarter of 2022 dropping by almost half compared to the previous year – down from 543,417 MWH to 276,257 MWH.

Despite its high-profile struggles, Eskom remained the main source of imported electricity during the three-month period, responsible for 44.4 percent of Botswana’s imported electricity.

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Zambia Electricity Supply Corporation Limited (ZESCO) accounted for 20.9 percent, while Electricidade de Mozambique (EDM) and Southern African Power Pool (SAPP) chipped in for the bulk of the rest.

Meanwhile, homegrown electric production continues to gain momentum, recording a 72.1 percent increase over the corresponding quarters. In 2021, Botswana produced 469,349 MWH between October and December, a figure that rose to 807,943 MWH in the final quarter of 2022.

This backed up the 789, 354 MWH generated in the previous quarter (July – September).

The increase is mainly attributed to improved output at both Morupule power stations, which accounted for 97.8 percent of electricity generated. Orapa and Matshelagabedi emergency power stations contributed the remaining 1.3 and 0.9 percent respectively.

The improvement is largely credited to successful remedial works at Morupule B, which commenced in 2019 to address equipment and construction defects from the original project completed in 2014.

The works started with Unit 4 in 2019 and was delivered in September 2022, paving the way for Unit 2 to be repaired in October 2022.

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