Botswana to build new 100 MW solar plant

By Mpho Tebele

GABORONE – As part of its efforts to offset power deficit in the country, Botswana’s state run power utility is seeking a partner for a 100-MW solar power plant project with energy storage capacity in the country.

The Botswana Power Corporation (BPC) will be accepting expressions of interest (EoIs) by June 14.

In a document published on its website, BPC says Botswana’s current peak demand stands at some 600 MW, but it is expected to at least double by 2035, according to the national electricity demand forecast for 2015-2035.

Most likely scenario is for demand of about 1,360 MW at the end of the period, while the low and high scenarios see that at 1,184 MW and 1,523 MW, respectively, the company said.

Power generation companies, independent power producers (IPPs), project developers and captive power producers can bid for the project. And after the shortlisting of potential bidders, BPC plans to issue a Request for Proposal.

The power company will be a partner in the joint venture that will develop, install, and operate the solar project.

It will also be the entity buying the power by the future solar farm under a power purchase agreement (PPA).

“The plant will be located in Botswana, and the new formed Joint Venture will sell its power to BPC through a Power Purchasing Agreement. Therefore, Expression of Interest is invited from power generation companies/Independent Power Producers (IPPs)/power plant developers/Captive Power Producers for developing a solar power plant in a joint venture with BPC,” BPC explained.

BPC states that the objectives of the 100 MW Solar Power plant project are to improve security and reliability of energy supply, increase share of new and renewable sources of energy in the energy supply mix of the country and offset the country’s carbon footprint.

The 100-MW solar power project is in line with the country’s power strategy. BPC said the plant will improve the security and reliability of energy supply, increase the use of renewable energy, and reduce Botswana’s carbon footprint.

According to BPC, Botswana is facing a huge power supply deficit owing to diminished surplus generation capacity in the region and the growing electrical energy requirements in Botswana.

The available base generation capacity averages 260MW only from Morupule B power station since the Morupule “A” plant is undergoing refurbishment.

The statement says the current peak demand stands at approximately 600MW and the supply gap is met through imports mainly from South Africa (Eskom) and some from Mozambique (EDM).

BCP says two emergency plants, Orapa 90MW and Matshelagabedi 105MW are also dispatched when the imports are not available or when they are too expensive.

According to the 20 year national electricity demand forecast (2015 to 2035), it is predicted that the electricity demand will grow from a diversified base of approximately 606 MW in 2015 to an expected High Scenario of approximately 1, 523 MW in 2035.

The Low Scenario will reach approximately 1184 MW and the most likely Scenario is expected to grow to an estimated value of 1,359 MW in 2035. This is based on the average growth rate per annum for the low, likely and high scenarios of 8 percent, 10 percent and 11 percent respectively.

To address the power supply challenges and to meet the future electricity demand, BPC and the Ministry of Minerals, Green Technology and Energy Security has embarked on a comprehensive electrical power system development strategy which includes among others, the development of a 100MW solar power plant two years from appointment of the preferred Independent Power Producer joint venture partner.

The additional power generation will be from a new solar power plant constructed, commissioned, owned and operated, by the IPP joint venture company.

This initiative is in line with National Energy Policy goal of providing affordable, reliable and adequate supply of energy for sustainable development, as well as improving access to and efficient use of energy resources.

June 2017
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