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Solar and wind tenders
Renewable energy could be a game changer in Botswana's plans to be a net exporter of power.

In Botswana, the government is looking into expanding the country’s energy mix by tapping into their abundance renewable energy sources, enabling their goal of becoming a regional powerhouse and major power exporter in the next few years.

The diamond-rich nation currently imports between 80MW and 150MW from South Africa, with the result that the economy of Botswana suffered when Eskom implemented load shedding earlier this year, reports CAJ News Africa.

Power generation increase

At the Base Metals Beneficiation Forum in Francistown, Minister of Energy, Minerals and Water Resources, Kitso Mokaila assured the mining executives that the government is leaving no stone unturned in its bid to become a net power supplier.

"I am 100% sure that we will be a main exporter of power by 2018," he said. He went on to  say that tapping into renewable energy resources was one of the ways this could be achieved.

The national power utility, Botswana Power Corporation (BPC), presently produces 470MW at its coal-fired Morupule B Power Plant.

Botswana's national power demand currently stands at an average of 550MW.

The Minister said that the country plans to produce an additional 2 000MW in phases between now and 2018.

He said Botswana is finalising the awarding of a tender to the preferred bidder to construct two more units at the Morupule B plant to generate at least 300MW, which is expected to feed into the national grid by the end of 2016.

Renewable energy interest

Makoalia said the country has also embarked on an ambitious plan to generate electricity from gas and renewable energy such as solar.

BPC spokesperson Spencer Moreri gave an update that a total of 118 prospective companies have applied to be considered as partners in the generation of power through renewable sources.

Botswana is also banking on a government-to-government agreement with Israel, a key partner. The two countries are confident they will be able reach an agreement for a 900MW solar energy project.

Botswana Chamber of Mines CEO, Charles Siwawa, commented: "Besides making the country an exporter, this will go a long way in ensuring that Botswana has enough power supply to run its mining houses scattered across the breath and length of the country."