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Botswana will be net exporter of electricity by 2026


While Botswana currently depends on South African power supply for about half of its electricity consumption, plans are underway to not only have the country produce enough power for itself by also be able to export to other countries.

By 2026, Botswana will be net exporter of electricity, Minister of Mineral Resources, Green Technology and Energy Security Lefoko Maxwell Moagi in Parliament on Wednesday. Moagi, who is also Member of Parliament (MP) for Ramotswa constituency was answering a question from Jwaneng-Mabutsane MP Mephato Reatile who wanted to know when the ministry will establish a clear plan on solar energy as Botswana holds the potential to process solar energy and to reduce imports of electricity and export the surplus.

Reatile also wanted parliament to be put to terms on whether the Ministry will foster an environment in which private companies can harness the solar energy for resale. Botswana’s total national power consumption hovers around 600 megawatts annually, Morupule A produces 100 megawatts, Morupule B around 250 megawatts.

Botswana then gets 150 megawatts from Eskom, the remaining is sourced from the Southern African power pool: Namibia, Mozambique etc. Once Morupule is fully functional it will produce 600 megawatts, meaning Botswana will be energy efficient.

Responding to Reatile’s question, Moagi said significant action is already in place to change the status quo and ensure Botswana’s energy security. He revealed that plans to make Botswana a net exporter of electricity are underpinned by massive renewable energy projects that will catapult Botswana into an energy sector regional powerhouse by 2026.

Moagi explained that the development of renewable energies will enable Botswana to meet rising power demand, reduce dependency on power imports, diversify generation and energy supply portfolios, mitigate climate change and increase access to reliable, clean energy to alleviate poverty as well as stimulate and drive economic development.

“My ministry has a very clear plan incorporating solar energy, in order to meet the local energy demand and be able to export excess electricity. We have developed an Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) which was launched in December 2020,” he revealed.  The Integrated Resource Plan is a 20 year roadmap for power generation and takes on board different technologies for power generation.

Integrated Energy Planning and Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) are an integral parts of the energy planning process in Botswana as guided by the National Development Plan 11 and other sector policies. The target is to have 15% contribution of the renewable energy to the electricity mix and 100 percent electricity availability by 2030.

“From the beginning of the planning period of 2020, Botswana was relying on electricity imports and I believe that the expected increase in local generation from year 2023, will significantly reduce electricity import. From year 2026, Botswana will be a net exporter of electricity,” Moagi told Parliament.

The IRP has identified a number of projects for implementation over the period from 2020 to 2040, amongst them 2X50 MW Solar Photovoltaic projects located in Selibe Phikwe and Jwaneng.
One site, Selibe Phikwe has been awarded and the power plant for second site (Jwaneng) is under procurement.

These projects will be implemented by the private sector. Both sites are expected to be in commercial operation by December, 2022. Another project is the 12 grid-tied small scale Solar PV projects with a combined capacity of 35 MW, wherein six (6) sites namely Shakawe, Bobonong, Lobatse, Molepolole, Maun and Ghanzi have been awarded and the remaining six (6) sites (Kang, Tsabong, Tutume, Serowe, Charleshill and Kasane are at procurement stage.

All twelve (12) sites are expected to be in commercial operation by December 2022, providing a total of 35 MW. In addition is the 100 MW Coal Bed Methane (CBM) project which is currently under procurement.

Other projects are the 200MW Concentrated Solar Project (CSP) which will be procured towards the end of 2021,the 100 MW Solar Photovoltaic which will be implemented in National Development Plan 12 and the 50 MW Wind Power Project which will also be implemented in National Development Plan 12.

A battery storage project will be implemented to allow supply of electricity during morning and evening peak hours. Moagi credited the liberalisation of electricity supply to the Electricity Supply Act which was amended in 2007 noting that it has made provision for private companies to participate in electricity generation.

He however explained that transmission and distribution of electricity is still carried out by Botswana Power Corporation (BPC). The private companies are expected to sign Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) in order to sell electricity to BPC.

He said his Ministry has taken a deliberate decision that all renewable energy projects inclusive of solar projects that are in the IRP will be implemented by Independent Power Producers. The projects will be tendered for following the Public Procurement and Asset Disposal Act.

In addition to commercial solar projects the Ministry of Mineral Resources, Green Technology & Energy Security has also developed the Rooftop Solar Programme to create an environment in which end-users can generate their own electricity and sell any excess to BPC.

The programme was launched in 2020 and it is a suitable alternative mechanism to increase the uptake of solar energy and facilitate private sector participation, according to Minister Moagi.
The system-wide aggregate capacity of the Programme in the first 12 months is capped at 10 MW. The programme covers household, commercial and industrial sectors.

So far, ninety (90) applications have been received. Thirty-Seven (37) have been awarded and thirty-three (33) do not meet the requirements (i.e. 13 are not BPC customers, 14 have no documentation, 6 have withdrawn). Eighteen (18) applications were duplicated, therefore invalid while two applications are currently being evaluated.

Moagi explained that the main challenges facing the program are that some customers are not providing the required information, shortfalls in acquisition of historic data from non- smart meters for system sizing, installations without net metering capability and lack of comprehension of the Rooftop Solar Guidelines.

He said his ministry will continue to play a leading role in the development of the electricity sector whilst the Botswana Energy Regulatory Authority (BERA) is tasked with regulating the sector by guaranteeing a competitive environment.


Food prices continue to rise, but at a slower rate

28th November 2022

Prices for cereals or staple foods in Botswana and other Southern African countries continue to rise at a slower pace, following trends in the global markets, according to the latest November 2022 Food Price Monitoring and Analysis by Food Agricultural Organization (FAO) of the United Nations.

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Still doing business the old way?

18th November 2022

It’s time to get business done better with MTN Business Botswana’s ICT Solutions.

Running a digital businessMTN Business Solutions Botswana, popularly known as MTN Business is an Internet Service Provider. We are a subsidiary of MTN Group Limited, a multinational telecommunications Group headquartered in South Africa, which operates in 19 markets across Africa and the Middle East.

More and more, clients are looking for ways to keep their staff productive in a dynamically changing business environment. Whether your people are working from home, the office or abroad, there is a growing recognition that digitising your operations can offer unprecedented commercial value in flexibility, productivity and growth. This new, digital reality means that it is more important than ever to stay agile – if there is anything that can slow a business down, it is being burdened by othatld technology.

Having made substantial investments in fibre technology, high-speed terrestrial and undersea networks and new frequency spectrum across the markets wherein it operates, MTN is perfectly positioned to respond to this shift in the market.

A few years ago, MTN also made the decision to build an IP capable radio network for its mobile services, giving its core network the ability to seamlessly integrate with enterprise IP networks. The mobile towers deliver services to enterprise clients absolutely anywhere it has a network, shortening the last mile and removing complexity and cost.

Now there is increasing demand from clients to connect their remote sites in all areas, including rural and semi- rural. MTN has assisted clients with overcoming this connectivity hurdle, enabling their staff to get the job done wherever they are.
MTN’s evolution

For MTN, the focus has shifted from just being a core telecommunications services provider, towards also becoming a technology solutions provider. The service offering now also includes Unified Communications, Data Hosting and Cloud Solutions, Security-As-A-Service and Managed Network Services. The scope has changed to being client and industry specific, so the requirements and service portfolio vary from one client to the next. The expectation is that a company like MTN must respond to these challenges, helping clients to get business done better as they shift from old to new technologies.

As many businesses continue to grapple with a digitally dynamic world, they face new challenges that have to be solved. This environment will benefit those that are more digitally enabled and agile. It is a brave new world that will favour online over on-site, wireless over wired and fluid over formulaic. Businesses will seek out partners and suppliers that are every bit as flexible and forward-looking as they are.
Ultimately, clients need partners like MTN Business that will invest in infrastructure, deliver the services they require, have market credibility, are financially sound and have a long-term commitment to their market presence.

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BIE to vitalize the Dignity of Engineers

9th November 2022

Botswana Institution Of Engineers (BIE), has last week hosted a gala dinner in  which they appreciated engineers who worked tirelessly and with dedication for 10 years from 1983 to steer the BIE to its current status.

The event that was held at the Phakalane Golf Estate had brought together young, experienced and veteran engineers and was held under the theme “Vitalize the dignity and eminence of all professional engineers”.

Explaining the theme, the institution’s treasurer, Thanabalasingam Raveendran said that engineers were looked upon reverentially with respect as the educated but with time it seems to have deteriorated. He indicated that there is a need to change the narrative by all means.

“The BIE exists for the welfare and the betterment of us Botswana engineers, we need to recognize specialised units within our Institution. We Engineers strongly believe in Engineers make it happen” Raveendran said.

He indicated that under the theme they appeal to all engineers to energize, to attain quality of being worthy of honour and respect and to achieve recognized superiority amongst the Society.

Raveendran stated that engineers need to ensure their end product is of good quality satisfying the end users expectations and engineers must be honest in their work.

“Approximately 8000 engineers registered with Engineering Regulatory Board (ERB) are not members of the BIE, engineers need to make every effort to recruit them to BIE” he said.

He alluded that BIE being a society, it currently needs to upgrade itself at par with professional institutions elsewhere like the UK and USA.

He further stated that BIE has to have engineering units of specialised disciplines like Civil/Mechanical/electrical etc

“As President Masisi indicated in his inaugural speech, the young people, who make 60 percent of the population of this country, are the future leaders and therefore investing in them is building the bridge to the future” said Raveendran

Kandima indicated that BIE has a memorandum of Understanding with Engineers Registration Board (ERB), where BIE is a recognised provider of CPD training, mentorship programmes and more importantly IPD undertaking to upgrade the skills and know-how of our engineers.

“For us to achieve our mandate and make worthwhile changes to engineering in Botswana, we have to be totally focused and act with intent” said Kandima.

Furthermore, Stephen Williams, past president of the BIE from 1986-1988 told the engineers that  the BIE provides a fertile environment where they can meet, share ideas and grow professionally.

“The BIE is also a nesting place for graduate engineers to learn from their peers and seniors, it also cater for engineering technicians and technologists and so nobody in the technology field is left out” he said.

He further indicated that Botswana Government provides a conductive environment for growth of engineering professionals.

“It must be stated that the Botswana Government recognises the existence of BIE and it can further be stated that the government enables ERB to carry out its mandate as a regulator of engineering professionals” said Williams

He plead with engineering companies to recognize and support BIE as it is the only source of engineering personnel’s for various Industries .

Furthermore, when giving his farewell speech, Michael Pinard , a past president of the institution  said how they are viewed as engineers by the general public might be due to some lack of appreciation as to exactly what role they play in the development of the country.

“The BIE slogan is aptly coined-Engineers make it happen, in other words, what man dreams engineers create” Said Pinard.

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