Botswana issues maiden power generation licences to private producers

Botswana has issued its first licences allowing three private companies to generate power, which will mostly be for export, the Botswana Energy Regulatory Authority (BERA) said last Thursday.

The Independent Power Producers (IPPs) have received 15-year generation licences and will produce a combined 827 megawatt (MW) of power. State-owned Botswana Power Corporation (BPC) is currently the sole producer of electricity but the country is looking to diversify with several private investors at various stages of setting up coal, gas and solar power projects.

“We need to come to a point where we no longer import but become exporters of electricity,” BERA Chief Executive Officer, Rose Seretse said during the handing over of the licenses in Lobatse.

Energy & Natural Resource Corporation, which is owned by Strata, plans to construct a 600 MW coal-fired power station. Tlou Energy, granted a licence to produce 2 MW of power through coal-bed methane. Sese Power, owned by First Quantum Minerals and African Energy will generate and export 225 MW of power.

The three companies have reportedly agreed to build their own transmission lines from the proposed power stations, which they’ll connect to the BPC transmission network. Seretse said it was encouraging to see the three companies enter the electricity-producing sector.

“It has been a journey to arrive where we are today. But we (BERA) are here to ensure that organisations such as yours add impetus to the economy of this nation. The work that you do is very important because electricity is essential,” she said.

BERA Chief Operations Officer, Duncan Morotsi explained that the three companies were the first IPPs in Botswana to be licensed to generate electricity.

 “These are big projects and we believe that you will succeed. We don’t only want you to produce for Batswana, but we also want you to export to make this one of the revenues earning industries for Botswana,” he said.

Despite its huge estimated coal resources of 212 billion tonnes, diamond-rich Botswana only has two operating coal mines with several investors at various stages of setting up coal mines for either export or power generation. Lack of adequate rail infrastructure and the high costs of road transportation have been holding back investments in Botswana’s coal sector.

Source: /

1 year ago

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