Bots, SA in talks over power


Gaborone Botswana is in talks with South Africa over the reduction of its power supply in 2010. 

Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Minerals, Energy and Water Resources Gabaake Gabaake told a  press conference in Gaborone that the country was in negotiations with South Africa not to reduce its power supply in 2010 and continue providing 350 MW to Botswana.

“Botswana needs 500 MW of electricity but its capacity remains well below the demand. If South Africa went ahead and reduced the supply to the country it means Botswana will only have 420 MW from the required 500 MW,” he said. 

Botswana can only produce between 90 and 120 MW at Morupule and will receive 250 MW of electricity from South Africa, while the other 50 MW comes from the Democratic Republic of Congo. 

He said the country expects another 70 MW from a diesel-powered generator currently being installed at Matshelagabedi. 

“The diesel-powered generator is expected to come online by the end of December 2009. Though the country receives power from Mozambique and Namibia, it is not guaranteed as it is on a non firm basis, as the two countries provide electricity as and when they have excess,” he said.  

A power crisis looms for the country as the off take of major energy projects continue to be delayed and capacity falls. Botswana will likely experience pressure in electricity supply as South Africa is expected to cut 100 MW of supply from the 350 MW it provided to the country maily because of the looming world cup tournament. 

The provision of electricity is expected to remain under stress until the ongoing Phase 1 expansion of Morupule Power Station is completed in 2012.

CIC Energy, which is a listed company, is the developer of the proposed 1 200-MW Mmamabula coal-fired power station, in Botswana, which is arguably the most advanced base-load IPP project currently under consideration in the region. Some 75 percent of the power from the $3-billion project would be exported to South Africa, with the Botswana Power Corporation buying the remaining 25 percent.

Meanwhile reports indicate that the off take of Mmamabula Energy Project is likely to be delayed further following the release of the South African energy Department’s first integrated resource plan (IRP). 

It is also reported that South Africa’s Energy Minister Dipuo Peters restricted the timeline of the IRP1 to the next three years. She is quoted as saying the balance of South Africa’s energy mix over the next 20 years would instead be determined after a “rigorous” stakeholder consultation process starting in the first quarter of next year. 

“Going into 2013 we need to assure South Africans that while we are planning, the lights will be on. In early 2010 we start developing the IRP2 calling on stakeholders to participate,” the Minister was quoted as saying.

December 2009
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