Despite persistent load shedding due to unreliable electricity supply, Botswana is set to increase its annual power generation by an average of 58 percent between 2012 and 2017, a UK-based research centre predicted this week.
Business Monitor International (BMI) said in its latest report on Botswana energy that the landlocked country has vast potential to become a leading energy exporter in the near future, if it explored vast coal reserves. Growth will come from existing cola-fired plants in Mmamabula, Mmashoro and Sese.
Botswana is believed to possess world largest coal reserves. Recently president Ian Khama signed a bilateral agreement with South African president, Jacob Zuma over coal and energy production. Indians too have insatiable appetite for Botswana’s Mmamabula coal through the CIC Energy.
BMI carries out economic-related researches around the world, to help improve economic development. BMI’s latest report entitled: ‘Botswana Power Report Q1 2013’ gives the mineral led economic hopes of achieving energy self-sufficiency and end over reliance on unreliable and expensive electricity imports.
The country power generation is expected to reach 5.58 tera watt hours (TWh). Botswana Power Corporation (BPC), a quasi-government monopolistic power generator said in its 2011 annual report that it produced around 437.1, GWh of power of which 371.5 GWh was sent to the national grid.
However, Botswana currently produces 11 percent of its energy needs, allowing the world biggest diamond exporter to import around 89 percent of its energy needs from neighbouring countries. BPC supplements its power needs by purchasing 68 percent of power from Eskom, South Africa and the remaining 21 percent from the Southern Africa Power pool (SAPP).
BMI is however of the view that the power imbalance would begin fading off by 2012 up to 2017, when Botswana would be in a position to export power.
“We expect all of this growth to come from new or existing coal-fired power plants. New capacity includes the long-delayed Morupule B power station and the thermal Mmashoro Power Station, both of which are scheduled to begin operations during our forecast period,” reads the BMI research.
BPC Chief Executive Jacob Raleru, who said that the completion of Morupule B, sometime early next year, would add an extra 600 mega watt, however, further corroborated the research, saying that it would be an extra step towards energy independence.
Of late, coal developer Aviva Corporation was granted an environmental impact statement for its Mmamantswe coalmine and 300 MW power station project in October 2012 by the Botswana Department of Environmental Affairs, as a way to also engage private companies to help boost the country’s power production.