Lack of funding collapsed BPCs Lesedi Project

Dr Schwarzfischer
Dr Schwarzfischer

Botswana Power Corporation’s (BPC) renewable energy subsidiary, Lesedi Project collapsed due to lack of funding, the corporation’s chief executive officer (CEO) Dr Stefan Schwarzfischer has said.

“The project collapsed due to lack of funding, because sometimes you sign an agreement and once you do, then an independent power producer or project developer needs to establish the financing and if he fails, the whole project collapses,” he said.

The Lesedi Project was liquidated two years ago and the corporation re-called the franchising business model for review stating that it failed to generate profits and sustain itself.

According to the corporation, they revised the model to devise a more sustainable one after realising that the cost of implementation was very high while the returns were low. The corporation also decried slow uptake noting that the cost of setting up renewable energy was higher.

At the end of March 2013, BPC Lesedi Project was supplying and servicing 600 households with solar home systems with a total installed capacity of 100kw.

As part of its retail business, BPC franchises have sold to the rural market 475 efficient cooking wood stoves, 1,200 rechargeable lanterns, 75 heat retention bags (hot bags) and 10 bush low-pressure solar geysers.

However, the corporation has been weighing options to revive the project and has been conducting a study that is expected to make informed decisions regarding off-grid solutions for the project.

Government has also been making efforts to increase green energy mix by 25% within the next seven years, as part of the Paris Agreement.

This means that the government needs to establish 250MW of solar generated power by 2025. As part of the agreement, Botswana has also pledged to reduce carbon dioxide emission to zero by 2036.

To achieve this, the corporation needs to build a 100MW Solar Power Plant in 2018 as well as electrify more rural areas, which are distant from any of the grid by building 1MW solar power plants and the distribution network in 20 rural areas.

The corporation will also establish solar grid tide power plants of the size of 1MW to 3 MW in 12 dedicated villages with an overall capacity of 60MW.

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