Morupule B capacity to be doubled


Generation capacity at Morupule B power station will be doubled to 1,200MW by 2020 through Independent Power Producers (IPPs), turning the country into a net exporter of electricity.

The power plant currently has a capacity to produce 600MW, but has averagely produced about half of that since commissioning in 2012 due to boiler failures and tube leaks.

Addressing the Botswana Resource Sector Conference in Gaborone yesterday, Minerals, Energy and Water Resources Minister, Kitso Mokaila said two 300MW power plants (Units 5- 6 and 7 -8) will be added to Morupule B by 2020 through IPPs.

This will see up to 820MW of power being added into the national grid from both coal and solar powered plants by 2020 with 120MW expected from the refurbishment of Morupule A by end of next year.

A tender for a 100MW solar power station is also expected to be out soon, with the plant expected to be running by 2018.

“In four years time we see ourselves as not only self sufficient, but we hope to have extra capacity to be exporting into the region,” he said.

A tender for a 300MW power plant was earlier this year awarded to a joint venture between South Korea’s Posco and Japan’s Marubeni.

Botswana has also kick-started a process to directly appoint another South Korean JV between Daewoo and Kepco for another 300MW power plant. The 120MW is also being refurbished by another South Korean firm, Doosan. Apart from coal-fired projects, Mokaila said they will put out a 100MW solar power tender in the next two months.

“We are working with our South African IPP unit to get guidelines on putting out the solar power tender. The plan is to have it up and running by 2018,” he said.

Botswana’s current power demand stands at an average 600MW but the country’s sole power station, Morupule B is currently producing less than 300MW with the remainder coming from imports and diesel generators.

“We are also refurbishing Morupule B and negotiations to sell it and have it operate as an IPP have begun,” said Mokaila.

In a recent statement, the Botswana Power Corporation (BPC) said it had all hands of deck to ensure that all the units are restored at the earliest possible time to avoid any possible power supply interruptions during the current winter season. BPC said there are currently two units (Unit 2 and 4) in full operation delivering about 260MW. During winter, the power utility anticipates an increase in the national demand from the current 530MW to a projected 669MW. 

The corporation projects an import supply of 190MW while 479MW will be produced locally for the peak period.

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A Call For Government To Save Jobs

The minister further shared that from the 320 businesses that notified the Commissioner of Labour about their plans to retrench, 20 were acceded to, which resulted in 204 workers being retrenched during April 2020 and July 2021.The retrenchments were carried out while the SoE was in place, meaning the companies that succeeded must have had solid reasons, despite the strict SOE regulations imposed on businesses to not retrench. We are left with...

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