Official figures released by Statistics Botswana (SB) have revealed that the country is importing less electricity and making gains in self-sufficiency, likely due to the stable production at Morupule A and B power plants.
During the first quarter of 2021, Botswana imported 37.5% of its total electricity, a 24.1% drop – 112,453 MWH from 465,701 MWH recorded during the fourth quarter of 2020, according to the quarterly electricity generation and distribution report. Botswana imported the bulk of its electricity from South Africa’s Eskom at 65.1% of all the electricity imported. The Southern African Power Pool (SAPP) accounted for 22.1%, while the remaining 7.4% and 5.4% were sourced from Nampower and cross-border electricity markets.
“Cross-border electricity markets is an arrangement whereby towns and villages along the border are supplied with electricity directly from neighbouring countries such as Namibia and Zambia,” stated SB.
The Minister of Mineral Resources, Green Technology and Energy Security Lefoko Moagi recently noted that through the Integrated Resource Plan launched last year, they intend to ensure that renewable energy contributes 15% to the electricity mix, and the country has 100% electricity availability by 2030.
“From the beginning of the planning period of 2020, Botswana was relying on electricity imports, and I believe that the expected increase in local generation from the year 2024 will significantly reduce electricity import. From the year 2027, Botswana will be a net exporter of electricity,” he said.
The Ministry has developed the Rooftop Solar programme to allow end-users to generate their own electricity and sell the excess to BPC. The system-wide aggregate capacity of the programme is capped at 10MW in the first 12 months. The programme covers household, commercial and industrial sectors.
“So far, a total of 73 applications were received, with 71 already evaluated by Botswana Power Corporation (BPC). Of the 71 applications evaluated, about 30 will be awarded by December 2021,” he said.
“The development of renewable energies could enable Botswana to meet the rising power demand, reduce dependency on power imports, diversify generation and energy supply portfolios, mitigate climate change and increase access to reliable, clean energy.”
The Ministry has prioritised 12-grid-tied small scale projects with a combined capacity of 35MW of which six namely, Shakawe, Bobonong, Lobatse, Molepolole, Maun and Gantsi have been awarded. The remaining six sites; Kang, Tsabong, Tutume, Serowe, Charleshill and Kasane are at the procurement stage. All 12 sites are expected to be commercially operational by December 2021. Other plans include the development of a 100MW Coal Bed Methane project, 200MW Concentrated Solar Project, 100MW solar photovoltaic, 50MW wind power project and battery storage to allow the supply of electricity during morning and evening peak hours. Furthermore, the Botswana Energy Regulatory Authority (BERA) has also noted a rise in the number of private entities applying for licences to generate solar for private use.
Electricity Generation Index stood at 140.3 during the first quarter of 2021, a 22.4% increase compared to 114.7 recorded during the same period in 2020. The quarter-on-quarter comparison shows a 14% increase, from 123.1 during the fourth quarter of 2020 to the current index of 140.3.