Morupule B Failure Drags Down Botswana Electricity Output In Q3

Morupule Power StationThe plant failure at Morupule B power project has been blamed on the country’s decline in power generation in the third quarter of 2015, Statistics Botswana said. According to the agency’s Electricity Generation & Distribution Stats Brief for the Third Quarter 2015, electricity generated during the quarter under stood at 591, 983 MWH, which showed a decrease of 37, 993 MWH (6.0 percent) as compared to 629, 976 MWH generated during the second quarter of the same year.

Stats Botswana said the year-on-year comparison of electricity generation shows a decrease of 27.5 percent (224, 482 MWH) from 816, 465 MWH during the third quarter of 2014 to 591,983 MWH registered for the same quarter in 2015.

“The decrease came as a result of the operational challenges realised at the Morupule B power plant,” it said, adding that in September 2015, the power utility (BPC) introduced a new 35 MW diesel operated electricity generating plant into the national grid.

“The new plant contributed 612 MWH during the month. Even though there was an additional plant operating, there was overall deficit in electricity generated locally during the period. The three diesel powered plants contributed a combined 51, 795 MWH and 24, 375 MWH of electricity generated during the second and third quarter of 2015 respectively. This shows a decrease of 52.9 percent (33, 420 MWH) from 51, 795 MWH to 24, 375 MWH. The rest of electricity was generated through the Morupule coal powered plants.”

During the same period, imported electricity registered a decline as compared to the figure registered during the second quarter of the same year. Electricity imports decreased by 3.1 percent (11, 821 MWH) from 376, 248 MWH during the second quarter of 2015, to 364, 427 MWH during the third quarter of the same year.

The year-on-year comparison of the physical volume of imported electricity however, shows an increase of 65.7 percent (144, 505 MWH), from 219, 922 MWH during the second quarter of 2014 to 364, 427 MWH registered during the same quarter in 2015.

The physical volume of electricity distributed from 2005 to the third quarter of 2015 can be deduced that both the year-on-year and quarter-on-quarter comparison of electricity distributed show a decline.

“This decline is attributable to the decreases in both electricity generated locally and the imported electricity.” During the period under review (third quarter 2015), the volume of electricity distributed declined by 5.0 percent (49, 814 MWH) from 1, 006, 224 MWH during the second quarter of the same year to 956, 410 MWH (Table 7).

The year-on-year comparison of electricity distribution for the third quarter of 2015 and the third quarter of the previous year, shows a decrease of 7.7 percent (79, 977 MWH) from 1, 036, 387 MWH to 956, 410 MWH.

The generation of electricity in Botswana started in 1985 with a coal fired thermal power station at Morupule operating at a capacity of 132 MWH. Prior to this period, most of Botswana’s electricity was imported from South Africa’s power utility, Eskom. In 2008 South Africa’s electricity demand started to exceed its supply, resulting in the South African government restricting power exports.

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