BPC-Eskom power purchase deal on the cards
Botswana has been known to be a net importer of electricity from its neighbouring countries with South African power utility ESKOM being the leading supplier.
The consistent power importation was caused by the low output at Morupule Power Station Plant B, which was bedevilled by defects and numerous breakdowns.
However, finally there is a ray of light at the end of the tunnel for the country as a deal is in the offing for Botswana Power Corporation(BPC) to supply ESKOM with power.
Of late, ESKOM has been experiencing shortages of power, a predicament which has lead to South Africans having to endure cold nights of power cuts, rationing and load shedding during the winter period, but with BPC’s Morupule Power Station reported to be operating at near full capacity, Botswana has come to the rescue for South Africa.
In an interview with Voice Money, BPC Marketing and Communications Manager, Dineo Seleke said for the past three months both Morupule A and B power plants have been fully operational and dispatching 580MW of power daily to the national grid.
As a result, there have been a power surplus therefore the ability to shed off the electricity to ESKOM.
“The Corporation therefore met the local electricity demand for power supply during off-peak periods and was able to export surplus power to the region. When all our eight units are in full operation and there are no off takers (buyers) for surplus power in the region during the off-peak periods, there is a need to reduce electricity generation from our power plants to avoid dumping power into the regional grid which is not good practice as it can cause extreme system disturbances. Load reduction, which occurred repeatedly in the recent past, is risky to the optimal operation of our power plants as the fluctuation can strain the generators,” said Seleke.
Despite an announcement by South African president Cyril Ramaphosa that Eskom will buy Power from Botswana, Seleke said thus far there is no signed contract on the power purchase deal.
“BPC has therefore started engaging Eskom to purchase the excess electricity supply generated during off-peak times (weekends) in order to protect our plants against load management fluctuations and also to ensure that surplus electricity has a secured market,” Seleke explained.
Based on its Maduo26 Strategy, the Corporation has improved local power generation capacity as evidenced by pickup of electricity production during the first quarter of 2022.
Lately reports indicate that physical volume of electricity produced locally stood at 638,501 MWH during the period January-March 2022 eliminating any doubts over Botswana ‘s capability to export power.