Power struggle

Kabelo Adamson
TROUBLED: Morupule B
Morupule B troubles lead to an increase in power importation

The latest data from Statistics Botswana (SB) indicates that during the second quarter of the year, the physical volume of imported electricity increased by 31.1 percent.

Imported electricity during the second quarter of 2021 shows an increase of 31.1 percent or 109,923 MegaWatt Hour (MWH), from 353,248 MWH during the first quarter of 2021 to 463,171 MWH during the current quarter.

Although there are fluctuations in physical volumes of imported electricity, it has been observed that generally importation of electricity shows a downward trend.

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This is said to be an indication that the country’s continued effort to generate adequate electricity to meet demand is bearing fruits, hence the decreased reliance on electricity imports.

Botswana imported 47.8 percent of electricity distributed locally during the second quarter of 2021.

The bulk of this came from the South African power utility, Eskom which contributed 57.8 percent of the total power that Botswana imported.

The Southern African Power Pool (SAPP) accounted for 17.8 percent, while the remaining 15.6, 4.6, and 4.2 percent were sourced from ZESCO (Zambia), Nampower (Namibia), and Cross-border electricity markets.

A cross-border electricity market is an arrangement whereby towns and villages along the border are supplied with electricity directly from neighbouring countries such as Namibia and Zambia.

Regarding local power generation, the physical volume of electricity produced locally decreased by 14.3 percent, or 84,586 MWH, from 589,899 MWH during the first quarter of 2021 to 505,313 MWH during the period under review.

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The decline is reported to have been caused by operational challenges at Morupule B.

While electricity importation increased, it has been observed that electricity generated locally contributed 52.2 percent to power distributed during the second quarter of the year, compared to a contribution of 46.8 percent during the same period last year. This is an increase of 5.4 percent.

However, compared with the first quarter of 2021, figures show that the contribution of electricity generated to electricity distributed decreased by 10.3 percentage points compared to the 62.5 percent contribution of locally generated electricity during the first quarter of 2021 to 52.2 percent currently.

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