Morupule A is set to return to full operations in June, six years after its operations were suspended following an operational audit revelation that plant availability had dropped to below 30%.
The 30-year-old power station, with a nameplate capacity of 132MW, was for decades the country’s sole power station, until projections in the early 1990s showed a need for its expansion by at least 600MW.
Construction of the adjacent Morupule B power station began in 2009 and while works were completed in 2012, the power station’s frequent breakdowns mean a major overhaul is currently underway.
On Tuesday, Minerals, Green Technology and Energy Resources minister, Sadique Kebonang told Parliament that Morupule A would be back in full operation in June, contributing 116MW to the national grid. The amount equals about 22% of current national demand.
“The refurbishment of Morupule A, which is aimed at recovering the plant from degradation and abating pollution is 90% complete,” he said.
“The project could have been delivered much earlier had it not been because of some technical challenges encountered during commissioning of the first two units.”
Kebonang said with Morupule A’s contribution, the country was safely secure in electricity self-sufficiency. Current demand of 520MW is being met by 892MW of capacity, which includes Morupule A, Morupule B as well as the Orapa and Matshelagabedi diesel peaking plants.
Two separate studies by government and the Botswana Power Corporation have indicated that the Morupule A, once refurbished, can run for another 15 years at 80% plant availability. Last year, government spent P878.3 million on the power station’s refurbishment.