Energy importation declines despite Morupule B uncertainty

The volume of imported electricity has declined during the first quarter of the year, dropping by 31.8 percent compared to the same period last year.

The decrease is largely attributed to improved local production, particularly at Morupule B Power plant, which has historically struggled to meet the country’s energy demands.

In physical volume, according to latest figures provided by Statistics Botswana, imported electricity decreased by 88, 205 Megawatts, from 277, 270 during the first quarter of 2018 to 189, 065 Megawatts this time around.

The figures come at a time when Morupule B, built at the cost of a cool P11 billion, is not operating to its full daily capacity of 600 Megawatts.

Although there is still room for improvement, the stats will come as a relief to consumers who in the past have endured many dark nights due to the plant’s failures.

While local power generation has been growing steadily over the years, a significant increase was seen during the quarter under review.

According to information availed by Statistics Botswana, local electricity generation increased by 71.5 percent, from 452, 938 megawatts during the fourth quarter of 2018 to 776, 653 megawatts during the period under review.

This is said to be due to concerted efforts made to generate enough electricity to meet local demand thus decreasing the reliance on electricity imports.

In recent times, the Southern African Power Pool (SAPP) has been the main supplier of imported power to Botswana, accounting for 48.2 percent of imported electricity.

The remaining 35.9 percent, 12 percent and 3.9 percent were sourced from Eskom, cross border markets and Nam Power (Namibia) respectively.

Botswana started generating its own power back in 1985 through a coal fired thermal power station at Morupule, operating at a daily capacity of 132 megawatts.

Before that, the country was primarily reliant on Eskom for its power needs.

However, with South Africa’s power demand beginning to exceed supply, the country’s government decided to restrict power export, a move that negatively affected Botswana and many other Southern African countries.

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