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BITRI, CSIR Collaborate on Project to Capitalise On Renewable Energy

The Botswana Institute for Technology Research and Innovation (BITRI) Energy division together with the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) Energy Centre held a stakeholders’ workshop on a research project aimed at helping alleviate problems related to slow adoption of renewable energy in Botswana.

The project which is titled “Quantifying the Financial Costs and Benefits of Renewable Energy Resources in Botswana’s Electricity System” started in 2015. This project was initiated on the background that Botswana has abundant solar energy resources, receiving over 3, 200 hours of sunshine per year, with an average insolation on a horizontal surface of 21MJ/m2/day.

It is found that, the contribution of solar energy in Botswana’s electricity mix is very minimal, even though there are efforts to increase its application, especially in power generation as captured in the past and current National Development Plan (NDP 11). In addition, slow formulation of policies which would facilitate and promote the integration of renewable power into the national power grid has presented a challenge to the adoption of renewable energy, solar included.

Furthermore, electricity prices in Botswana are subsidized and amongst the lowest in Southern Africa, a factor that might present a challenge for solar electricity prices, as there is no deliberate strategic intent to extend the same intervention to solar energy. This factor is likely to deter investment in solar energy as it would mean that the price to sell electricity to the power utility will have to be lowered to match that which result from the subsidy.

The project has been divided in to two phases, being Phase 1 (Hindsight Costs and Benefits Analysis) which provided analysis of the actual financial costs and benefits of existing renewable energy sources in the Botswana electrical system from actual production data.  Phase 2 (Forward Looking Costs and Benefits) will look at the potential financial costs and benefits of renewable energy for the future.   

Accordingly, the project has already been through initiation stage, engagement of partners and vital stakeholders, data collection as well as the checking of accuracy and consistency, as well as data analysis, using calculation tools that were used in a study done by the CSIR in the Republic of South Africa. The purpose of the meeting on 5th of July was to present the findings of the study so far and engage important stakeholders on the way forward.

During the period of study Botswana saved between 3 – 3.5 million pula per year in fuel and import energy costs. In the same period, assuming an ideal scenario, the use of solar energy, could have eliminated unserved energy due to power cuts and led to an average cost saving of between 114 and 146 million pula per year on energy imports.

The study also revealed that the presence of renewables can bring some immediate benefits on Botswana power system, being saving on coal fuel and diesel fuel, saving on imports and arrest electricity interruptions, and the concomitant economic costs to electricity customers and the economy as a whole.  

Phase 2 of the project, which is forward-looking, includes the Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) for Botswana and will look to optimize the electricity mix for the long term, applying least cost planning principles to meet future demand reliably. This will take into account all existing and future supply/demand side resources to specific locations of need, districts or the rest of the country with an allowance for necessary policy adjustments for environmental, social, and political goals.

Due to its wide-ranging implications for a broad range of stakeholders, the Phase is typically a consultative process where inputs are sought from various stakeholders. It is noted that the Forward-looking study will also capture both the fuel saving and long-term investment benefits of renewables. This is because the value to the power system of a particular electricity generator is dependent on the timing of energy provided by the generator, which in turn affects the dispatch of other power generators to meet residual load. Additionally, the presence of a particular type of generator in the power system influences the structure of the corresponding supply mix in the long-term and thus triggers different investment decisions and associated costs.

The finalization of the proposal for Phase 2 is still in progress. The general scope of this phase of the project are to examine the electricity sector in Botswana (status quo), including the generation type, installed capacity, running costs, data collection in terms of long-term electricity demand forecast, economic parameters as well as new demand and supply-side technologies (cost and technical performance characteristics).

The other stage is Data Collection, which will look at long term electricity demand forecast, economic parameters, including cost of Unserved Energy and discount rate, new demand and supply-side technologies, as well as their costs and technical performance characteristics, and the development of scenarios and boundary conditions. Lastly, the Generation Expansion Planning will encompass least cost optimization of generation fleet, building a model (using PLEXOS simulation software), planning for outputs, including capacity to build and timeframe, as well as economic and financial analysis of all scenarios.

The BITRI Energy division team for the project is represented by Senior Researcher, Energy, Dr. Edward Rakgati as well as Keoagile Mogorosi and Thuso Booth Mogorosi (not related). Joanne Calitz and Crescent Mushwana from CSIR complete the core of the team. The project is guided by a Memorandum of Understanding between the two organisations.

BITRI CEO, Prof Masupe, Executive Director – Technologies, Dr. Sebusang Sebusang and Director – Research and Partnerships, Dr. Bathsheba Mbongwe represented BITRI at the meeting. The Department of Energy Affairs, Botswana Innovation Hub, Department of Meteorological Services, and Botswana Institution of Engineers were also represented and took part in the deliberations.

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WeekendLife

Vee Mampeezy wants to marry again!

28th November 2022

In May 2014, controversial pint sized musician, Odirile Sento married his longtime girlfriend, Kagiso Sento in a glamorous wedding, not knowing that eight years later, the two will be fighting until the very end of their holy union.

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Motsetserepa needs help

18th October 2022

Mental health is one critical element in someoneís life but gloomily, it is often overlooked. Topics centered on mental health and depression dominate the public discourse. The national conversation surrounding mental wellness, both online and offline has aided in the stigma of suffering from depression being removed, slowly but surely.

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TatsoConnekt Leading Women Brunch

14th October 2022

On Saturday 29 October 2022 (11:00- 15:00) Bash Connektor will be presenting their 1st TatsoConnekt Leading Women Brunch which will be hosted by Basadi’Bash’Masimolole. Tatso. A Setswana word. Taste† .Tatso / ta-tso/. verb.

The Brunch will be held at Myhomecafe by Mogobane Dam and tickets are selling at P650 per person. Only 50 tickets available and sold through pre-booking. The value of the offering will be a brunch meal + bottomless mimosas + connekting conversations that matter with leading women in corporate and entrepreneurship. This is an inspirational / empowerment connekting session for Women.

Bash Connektor is a Marketing Company with a twist founded in March 2022 by Basadi Bash Masimolole who has 15 years plus Marketing Experience. The INTENT of Bash Connektor is to Link People, Experiences, and Brands. The K instead of C is INTENTIONAL. We are all about contributing towards AMPLIFYING brand and country messages through curating experiential offerings and connekting conversations that matter, said Basadi Masimolole.

With a sponsor or funding, Basadi Masimolole’s ultimate goal is to have visual podcasts and empowerment connektor sessions at villages as part of cultural tourism and contributing towards the Botswana Government’s Rural Areas Development Program (RADP).

Individuals interested in purchasing the limited number tickets or Brands interested in participating on the TatsoConnekt Leading Women Brunch through sponsorships/ brand placement opportunities can reach Basadi’Bash’Masimolole on +267 7140 6660 / masimololebasadi@gmail.com / Bash Connektor Facebook page.

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