Botswana reaffirms commitment to 100 MW solar project

30 August 2017

The Botswana government has assured potential renewable-energy investors that it will follow through with the implementation of a proposed 100 MW utility-scale solar project, for which it received 166 responses to a call for expressions of interest (EoI) released earlier this year.

The Botswana Power Corporation (BPC) has been appointed as government’s implementation agent for the project and the State-owned utility has indicated that it plans to issue a tender in the coming weeks to a short-list of companies selected from the list of EoI respondents.

Department of Minerals Resources, Green Technology and EnergySecurity chief energy officer Kesetsenao Molosiwa told delegates to an Africa Power roundtable in Johannesburg on Tuesday that the project was a priority for the country.

He also stressed that the BPC tender should be viewed as distinct from an earlier government-issued EoI, which had been abandoned, adding that the BPC tender would definitely “see the light of day”.

BPC has indicated previously that it is aiming to select an independent power producer before the end of 2017 and that the plant should be feeding into the national grid during the 2018/19 financial year.

He also confirmed that government intended coupling the solarproject with a requirement for storage, so that the power facility could contribute to meeting the country’s morning and evening peaks.

The move to integrate solar into the Botswana grid comes amid the release of a new energy policy, which broadens the country’s energy resources focus beyond its traditional focus on coal. The policy also aims for greater energy self-sufficiency and to position Botswana

 as a potential exporter of energy, both in the form of electricity and liquid fuels.

In parallel, Botswana was investigating options for the export of thermal coal, or increasing coal-fired power generation for both domestic consumption and for export into the Southern African Power Pool. Work was also under way to unlock the country’s coalbed methane potential. 

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