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Govĺt discontinues Matshelagabedi power plant

PAULINE DIKUELO
The 105MW Matshelagabedi diesel power peaking plant will be discontinued by the end of the year in an effort to bring down the cost of power generation in the country as the Morupule A plant comes on grid.

Delivering the State of Nation Address this week, President Ian Khama said the refurbishment of Morupule A is ongoing and Unit 1 of the plant is currently undergoing commissioning and the refurbishment of all the remaining three units will be completed by the end of December this year.

 “Once Morupule A is up and running, the Matshelagabedi diesel power peaking plant will be discontinued in an effort to bring down the cost of power generation in the country,” he said.

Two years ago, Botswana Power Corporation (BPC) bought the 70MW Matshelagabedi diesel power plant, which it has been renting from APR Energy since 2009 under a five-year contract, which was extended by a further year in January 2014. A decision was also been taken to extend the power plant by 35MW of diesel generation bringing the plant capacity to 105MW. The Matshelagabedi diesel plant together with the 90MW Orapa Plant, have played a critical role in alleviating electricity shortages in the past, as the country faced consistent power outages due to the failure of the 600MW Morupule B power station. The diesel-powered power plant however came at a huge cost to BPC with estimates showing

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that the two turbines of the Orapa plant power plant consumes up to 17,000 litres of diesel per hour at peak use. The pump price of diesel is around P8 per litre.

Khama also said remediation of Morupule B is also ongoing and the contractor is carrying out remedial work, which is scheduled to be complete by the end of the year. “Work is also in progress to upgrade the existing national power supply infrastructure. This will ensure a stable supply and transmission of power whilst creating adequate transmission capacity to facilitate exports through the Southern African Power Pool network,” he said.

Further the government, through the Ministry of Mineral Resources, Green Technology and Energy Security has also embarked on increasing the renewable energy contributions in an effort to develop low carbon energy portfolio.

“Self-sufficiency in power supply and diversification of petroleum products are priorities for energy security. The need to increase renewable energy contributions to the energy mix is a consistent goal in an effort to develop a low carbon energy portfolio,” he said.

Currently the maximum electricity demand for Botswana is estimated at 520MW, which is expected to grow to 856MW in 2025.



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