The government of Botswana said it is in the process of awarding a contract for 300MW coal fired power station to an independent power producer (IPP) as the country looks to exploit its large coal resource and become self reliant in energy generation.
Kitso Mokaila, the minister of Minerals, Energy and Water Resources, stated that two bidders remain and the procuring body, Public Procurement and Asset Disposal Board (PPADB), will name the winner of the tender soon.
“I am happy to share with you that the ministry is making good progress towards awarding of 300MW power project to an Independent Power Producer (IPP),” Mokaila said at the Connecting Resources and Society conference held in Gaborone from 23 – 24 November 2015. The conference is organised by Chatham House, a world-leading independent policy institute, and is hosted jointly by The De Beers Group of Companies and the Ministry of Minerals, Energy and Water Resources.
Mokaila added that the refurbishment and rehabilitation of Morupule A and B power stations has commenced to improve its availability and reliability to ensure security of power for the country. Morupule A is hoped would produce 114MW into the grid while Morupule B has 4 units each producing 150MW or 600MW combined.
The 27 year old Morupule A has not been maintained for a long time which forced government to put it under care and maintenance programme—but government was forced to revive the plant following the failure of the multibillion pula Morupule B power station.
“I hope PPADB would make a decision by Thursday next week,” he said, adding that he expects Morupule A to start running by the end of 2016. Botswana needs around 600MW of power and would export the rest to the region where electricity is slowly becoming a luxury.
“So, we should be net exporter by 2018”. Botswana sits on 212 billion tones of estimated coal reserves with a number of exploration companies sitting on the sidelines awaiting government’s pronouncement on the IPP policy that would help monetise most of the resources.
Most of the explorers are now forging partnerships with South African energy companies in a bid to be considered for the South African Coal Base Load IPP programme. Already, a company like Shumba Energy has an agreement in place with Mulilo Renewable Project Developments (Pty) Ltd to jointly develop of the Mabesekwa Export Independent Power Plant (MEIPP) at the Mabesekwa Coal Project.
No feed-in tariffs
The government also stated that it does not have feed-in tariffs in place and might not require it looking at the indications from Independent Power Producers (IPPs).
“We do not have feed-in tariffs and numbers coming from IPPs are good and it shows that we won’t need the feed-in tariffs,” said Mokaila.