Another 300MW extension for Morupule B

The new plant will take Morupule B generation capacity to 1,200MW
The new plant will take Morupule B generation capacity to 1,200MW

Just two months after awarding a tender to expand the troubled Morupule B to 900MW, plans are already underway to add another 300MW to the power station, BusinessWeek has established.

In a notice published this week, the Public Procurement and Asset Disposal Board (PPADB) announced it had approved a request by the Ministry of Minerals, Energy and Water Resources to use the direct appointment method to engage a joint venture between two South Korean firms, KEPCO and Daewoo to construct Unit 7 and 8 at Morupule B. According to the notice, the IPP contractor, once engaged, would be required to   design, finance, construct, own, operate, maintain and decommission at the end of the economic life a 300MW brownfield coal-fired power plant comprising two 150MW units.

 “We haven’t awarded the tender yet. What has been approved is a request to talk to KEPCO and Daewoo with a view to directly appoint them to construct an extra 300MW power plant at Morupule.

It won’t be an open tender. From there, we will come up with a tender document and take it to the consortium for negotiations,” Energy Minister Kitso Mokaila told BusinessWeek on Wednesday, but declined to give further details.

Troubled Morupule B  (Unit 1-4) has a capacity to produce 600MW, but is currently operating at 21 percent capacity producing only 130MW.  Groundwork to expand the plant to 900MW has already started after a tender for construction of another two units (Unit 5 and 6) was recently awarded to a joint venture between Japanese Marubeni and South Korea’s Posco Energy. If remedial works at the Chinese built Units 1-4 are successful, the coming on stream of Units 7&8 will catapult the country’s national generation   to over 1,300MW with excess supply amounting to 600MW.

The 300MW Units 5&6 are expected to kick into the national grid by 2020 lifting power generation to more than 1,000 MW, well above a national demand of about 610MW.  

On the other hand, works to refurbish the 120MW Morupule A power station have also started after a tender was awarded to another South Korea company, Doosan Heavy Industries at a cost of $204 million. Another tender for a 300MW Greenfield power plant is also out which will take local power production to 1,200MW. Briefing the media in Gaborone last month, Mokaila said Botswana is set to become a net power exporter in the next three years when three projects that are currently underway are completed.

“We expect to be producing about 1,020MW by 2019. Currently, our power demand stands at 600MW and is expected to rise to 700MW by 2019.  

With Greenfield plant, Units 5&6 and the refurbished Morupule A we should have a surplus of over 300MW  by 2020 which we can export into the region,” he said. 

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