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Botswana's energy capacity is thermal, mainly coal-fired, with some small diesel generators in rural areas. Installed electricity capacity is 220,000kW. The bulk of domestic electricity production (80%), around 901 million KWh, is generated by the Morupule coal-fired station which is operated b y the Botswana Power Corporation. Debswana operates the nearby Morupule Colliery to supply coal to it. More than half of Botswana’s power requirements (70%) are imported from South Africa’s Eskom and Zambia. The imported capacity is about 228 million KWh.

Consumption per capita is estimated at 874 kWh. Increased urbanization in the face of scarcity of resources to expand and maintain energy plants, has contributed to the fact that only 22 % Botswana’s population have access to electricity. The SADC average for percentage electrification is at most 20 %.

In early 2008, the entire southern African region was hit hard by massive shortages in power, since the region works to share its power resources through the Southern African Power Pool, with most of the capacity coming from South Africa. Botswana has in turn put in place plans through governmental expansion of the Morupule power station, as well as encouraging private investment in the form of a 4,000 megawatt power station by the Canadian Greenfield company CIC Energy to become a net exporter of power to the regional pool.

The Ministry of Mineral Resources and Water Resources has overall responsibility for power. The Botswana Power Corporation (BPC) reports to the Ministry and generates, transmits and distributes electricity in Botswana, under the provisions of the Botswana Power Corporation Act. BPC imports electricity from ESKOM, from the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority and, since 1991, from Zambia.

A small Independent Power Producer (IPP), Bemco, supplies the town of Ghanzi in Western Botswana. BPC has a three year contract to buy power from Bemco. The latter company has approximately US$500,000 worth of power generation equipment.

Electricity tariffs in Botswana are the highest in the southern African region and its high tariffs have been blamed for the re-location of certain energy-intensive industries to neighboring countries. Although Botswana is ideally suited for solar energy applications, enjoying over 3,200 hours of sunshine per year, its contribution to the national energy balance is insignificant. Solar energy is currently used for home lighting and water heating, electricity production for telecommunications equipment, and in the rural areas where access to conventional electricity is difficult. Significant business opportunities lie in the manufacture or assembly of solar energy equipment.

Botswana Electricity Utilities

  • Botswana Power Corporation (BPC): is a state owned company for electrical power generation, transmission and distribution in Botswana. BPC represents Botswana in the Southern African Power Pool
  • Bemco: supplies electricity to the town of Ghanzi in Western Botswana

Plans & Projects

  • The country is undertaking a rural electrification programme and a 15 year planning programme is being developed to cater for the expected increase in supply of electricity across the Botswana grid. ABB Transmission and Distribution, a SA Company, has undertaken numerous projects in Botswana, building power lines
  • In the near future, the BPC plans to build four 150 MW coal-fired power plants alongside the existing four 33 MW coal-fired power plants at its Morupule Power Station, located approximately 280km north of Gaborone

Key Figures

  • Electricity produced: 1.052 billion KWh (2007)
  • Electricity consumed: 2.648 billion KWh (2007)
  • Electricity Exported: 0 KWh (2008)
  • Electricity Imported: 2.181 billion KWh (2008)

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