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Powerful Progress

Botswana makes strides towards energy self-reliance

While Botswana continues to import part of its electricity needs, it has been noted that the country is making significant strides towards self-reliance.

The electricity generation and distribution statistics indicate that during the first quarter of 2021, the physical volume of imported electricity decreased by 33.3 percent compared to the same period last year.

The stats show imported ‘motlakase’ dropped from 529, 352 Megawatt-Hour (MWH) to 353, 248 MWH, which represents 37.5 percent of the total power used by Botswana in the first three months of the year.

The amount also shows a significant 24.1 percent drop from the 465, 701 MWH imported in the last quarter (October – December) of 2020.

While the importation of electricity shows fluctuations between 2013 and 2021, the report states importation of electricity is generally on a downward slope.

This is felt to validate the country’s effort to generate adequate electricity to meet the local demand and reduce reliance on imports.

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Sparking further life to this argument, the physical volume of electricity generated locally increased during the first quarter of the year, rising 14 percent, from 517,627 MWH during the fourth quarter of 2020 to 589, 899 MWH.

The increase is said to have mainly been influenced by the improved performances of both Morupule A and B power plants.

“Eskom was the main source of imported electricity at 65.1 percent of total electricity imports. The Southern African Power Pool (SAPP) accounted for 22.1 percent, while the remaining 7.4 and 5.4 percent were sourced from Nampower and Cross-border electricity markets,” breaks down the report.

Cross-border electricity markets are an arrangement whereby towns and villages along the border are supplied with electricity directly from neighboring countries such as Namibia and Zambia.

While progress is reportedly being made towards energy self-reliance, earlier this year, Botswana Power Corporation (BPC) Chairperson, Professor Oboetswe Motsamai told local media that remedial works at Morupule B power plant, which commenced in June 2019, will be completed in 2023.

This will result if all the four units being functional and provide a total of 600 Megawatts (MW).

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Morupule A power plant has been successfully refurbished with all four units back in operation, providing a daily 100MW to the national grid.

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