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BPC engages Eskom expert to drive solar projects

Zwilithini Witbooi
The Botswana Power Corporation (BPC) has engaged former Eskom expert, Zwilithini Witbooi as the new general manager in charge of generation activities, a position that is critical in driving the corporationĺs new production projects centred along solar energy.

The government has signed the Paris Agreement to increase green energy mix by 25% within the next seven years, which means that Botswana needs to establish 250MW on solar capacities by 2025.

As part of the agreement, Botswana has also pledged to reduce carbon dioxide emission to zero by 2036. According to a statement from the corporation, in his role Witbooi will lead the delivery results from the corporation’s entire existing generation portfolio as well as be instrumental in the transition to 50% of Botswana’s electricity being generated by solar power as mandated in Botswana’s Vision 2036.

“The depth and breadth of his track record of his past projects adds to BPC’s increasing strength and ability to overcome the current challenges in the BPC generation fleet,” read the statement. The corporation plans to apply for $200 million funding from the Climate Change Fund next year to finance solar power plants.

The projects include construction of a 100MW Solar Power Plant next year as well as the electrification of more rural areas which are distant from any of the corporation’s grid by building 1MW Solar Power Plants and the distribution network in 20 rural villages.

The corporation will also establish solar Grid Tide Power Plants of the size of 1 to 3MW in 12 dedicated villages with an overall capacity of 60MW.

According to BPC, Witbooi’s footprint at Eskom also included extensive experience in resolving complex problems at brown field projects with challenges similar to Morupule A and B. “He has been involved throughout his career in South Africa

with comparable projects successfully de-mothballing of old power projects being in cold storage for more than 15 years,” read the statement.

According to the statement, Witbooi has led the modernisation of power plants where new versus old technologies are integrated using a combination of engineering approaches such as refurbishment, retrofit, re-engineering of plant components equipment, systems and processes.

Witbooi was later assigned to establish engineering capability to operate and maintain the Camden Power Station after it was returned to service and its performance has deteriorated to unacceptable levels. He was a key leader in the recovery of Camden’s technical performance to become one of Eskom’s top five performing stations. Camden Power Station now remains one of Eskom’s best performing station despite the fact that it was built in the 1960s.

“His success at Camden Power Station resulted in his deployment as Technical Plant Manager to various major power stations with serious technical challenges to help Eskom steer its way out of the load shedding experienced due to poor performance of these power plants. After he led the recovery of the plant’s performance as well as the overhaul of its deteriorated management systems,” said BPC. 

Witbooi is an electrical engineer graduate from Wits University and also completed a Senior Management Programme with the Henley Business School.

BPC is currently going through a transformation, which will see most of the parastatal generation driven by independent power projects.

After the disposal of the 6000 MW Morupule B power station, BPC will only be left with the 130MW Morupule A.


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