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Botswana aims for electricity self sufficiency

17 April 2012 – The Botswana Gazette reports that Botswana will be self sufficient in electricity supply only when all its power stations are in order. This was said by the Botswana Power Corporation’s (BPC’s) CEO Jacob Raleru before a tour of Isang substation in the Kgatleng district.
“The sub-station is one of the two currently under construction, the other being Phokoje in Selebi Phikwe. Both will evacuate power of 150 MW from the Morupule B power station,” Raleru said. He also said an inter-tie between Morupule B and Morupule A is underway.
These developments follow a 10 year transmission development study conducted in 2006/7 to guide on investment in that area, and this covered the integration of several new power plants: Morupule B phases 1 & 2 (600 MW each) and Mmamabula (1,200 MW).
The Minister of Minerals and Energy and Water Resources, Ponatshego Kedikilwe has said the addition of 600 MW from the new Morupule B power station will alleviate the constraint in power generation capacity for only a short period. As a result, “we will have to add another unit of 300 MW in 2015 and another 300 MW in 2018 looking at the expansion of developments such as mining.”
Though Kedikilwe said the country aims to become self sufficient in electricity that does not mean that Botswana has to end its bilateral relationships with its existing suppliers from neighbouring countries.
Domestic demand for electricity currently stands at around 500 MW and BPC expects supply to exceed demand when Morupule B is operational. Botswana has until now relied on imports to meet its growing demand for power (peak demand of 500 MW in 2008 and around 600 MW projected for 2012).

In 2008, 80% of the electricity supplied in Botswana consisted of imports from neighbouring countries, principally from South Africa. The remaining 20% was generated by the country’s only generation plant, Morupule A, a 25 year old plant. Because of the acute energy crisis in the region, neighbouring countries are rapidly reducing exports to Botswana and the country has been forced to resort to load shedding since 2008. Imports will be further reduced in coming years and are expected to be fully discontinued by 2013.