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Investment Opportunities in Botswana Power Sector

Botswana’s Power industry is dominated by the Botswana Power Corporation, a wholly Government owned and vertically integrated organization with the mandate to generate, transmit, distribute and supply electricity in the country. In recent years, and in line with current trends in reforms and restructuring sweeping across the region, the following two events are key milestones in the Botswana Government’s progress towards improved performance in the power sector and attracting private sector investment:

  • In March 2003, the Government completed a study on options for restructuring the Electricity Supply Industry in the country
  • The Government’s Public Enterprise Evaluation and Privatisation Agency, PEEPA, is at an advanced stage with a study to “review the existing policy and regulatory frameworks in the country’s infrastructure and energy, water and communications utilities”. The study is expected to advise on the form and shape of a regulatory oversight covering the electricity supply industry in the country.

The following are highlights of some areas of Botswana’s power sector with major potential for private sector investment:-

Power Generation
Botswana’s national electricity requirements are met through internal generation at Morupule Power Station and imports from neighbouring countries, mainly South Africa (Eskom). Currently, Morupule Power Station, with an installed capacity of 4 x 33MW coal fired, air cooled units, is operated as a base load station. The sent out capacity, per unit, is 29.5MW, giving a total sent out capacity of 118MW. The ratio of internal generation to imports, in terms of energy, is 30% to 70%.Current system maximum demand is 488MW.

Over the years, the Botswana Power Corporation was able to defer investment in the expansion of internal generation capacity by taking advantage of abundant surplus power in the region, which is now expected to run out in 2007/10.

Expansion of Internal Generation Capacity
To respond to the challenges of the diminishing surplus generating capacity in the region, BPC has completed a bankable feasibility study on generation expansion of the existing Morupule Power Station. Flowing from the study, BPC is currently set and focused on the delivery of the Morupule B Power Station Project in 2010. The Morupule B Power Station Project will have 4x150MW units (600MW total capacity) on line by end of 2010. The estimated cost of the project is USD900 Million.

Potential for Development of Mmamabula Export Power Station
The above reported diminishing generation capacity in the region has further unleashed a rare potential for the development of an export power station in Botswana. Mmamabula. A Greenfield site of immense coal deposits which is located strategically close to the largest power sink in the region, South Africa. The Mmamabula site is approximately 90km from Eskom’s Matimba Power Station, therefore minimizing potential cost of linking up with the South African transmission network. CIC and IPR are the sponsor of thr Mmamabula Power Project, which is planned to be undertaken in two phases. Phase 1 being 2400MW (3*800MW units) with commercial operation on the first unit in March 2012. Phase 2 will be similar to phase 1.

Summary on Mmamabula Coal Fired Power Station

  • Envisaged Power Station Size: 3x800MW phase 1 dry-cooled units (phased out construction)
  • Estimated Total Cost: US$6 billion

Vital Statistics and Trends on National Power Demand
The system Maximum Demand clocked 488 MW in May 2007, with the greater part (70%) being met through power imports, thus providing great potential for investments geared towards the growing of sufficient internal generation capacity.

‘As a service organization, we aim to facilitate sustainable and diversified development of our country by rendering a quality electricity energy service that is efficient, cost effective, safe and environmentally friendly.’

Botswana Power Corporation, Motlakase House, Maceng Way, P O Box 48 Gaborone. Tel:3603000, fax 3908674

First published in ESI Africa issue 2/2007