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First IPP project takes shape

IPP project

After a series of signing ceremonies, penning power purchase agreements with selected independent power producers, on the ground work has begun. This past Tuesday Government, Botswana Power Corporation (BPC) and Sturdee Energy officially kick-started the highly anticipated 3 Megawatt solar project in Bobonong. 

Officiated by Minister of Mineral Resources, Green Technology and Energy Security Lefoko Maxwell Moagi the ground breaking ceremony marked a significant step in Botswana’s many efforts towards exploring renewable energy and attaining energy security.  The multimillion pula project is a partnership between Sturdee Energy and Botswana Power Corporation (BPC).

Independent power producer Sturdee Energy in 2020 entered into two power purchase agreements (PPAs) with the Botswana Power Corporation (BPC) for two renewable energy IPP projects. The solar photovoltaic (PV) projects, located in Bobonong and Shakawe, will have an installed capacity of 3 MW and 1 MW, respectively. Under the terms of the PPAs, Sturdee will sell clean electrical energy to the BPC for 25 years and the projects are expected to produce over 10 000 GWh in their first year of operation. The projects will be built at a cost of about $5.5-million (Over P60 million).

“The signing of the two PPAs marks a major milestone for the adoption of renewable energy in Botswana’s new energy mix and increases energy security for our country in an environmentally sustainable manner.” said Botswana Power Corporation CEO David Kgoboko early 2020. On Tuesday Minister Lefoko Moagi said the project comes at the time when the world is moving towards decarbonising production of electricity with the aim to save the environment for future generations.  “For us as a country it is a step towards achieving the Vision 2036, particularly the pillar of sustainable economic development” he said.

Minister Moagi explained that once the plant is in commercial operation in July 2022, it will be the first ever Independent Power Producer (IPP) in the country marking the liberalisation and introduction of competition into the Electricity Supply Industry. The Bobonong 3MW solar PV grid tied plant has capacity to generate up to 8640MHW of electricity per annum. The power from the plant will improve energy security and supplement local electricity generation to meet local demand. Most importantly, it will substitute an equivalent portion of expensive imports, reiterated the Minister.

According to Honourable Moagi the plant is intentionally situated in Bobonong to produce power close to the demand center of the Bobirwa region and neighbouring areas. “The proximity of the plant to the region will reduce voltage drops caused by transmission losses experienced when power travels long distances and will in addition improve grid resilience.”  He noted that the project is a result of a partnership between Botswana Power Corporation and Sturdee Energy Consortium through a Power Purchase Agreement which was signed in July 2021. The construction of the plant started in November 2021 and is expected to be commissioned in July 2022.

The Bobonong project is part of the Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) that outlines the least cost development plan for electricity supply installations and their associated technologies for a period of 20 years.  It is part of the suite of 12 solar PV projects with a combined capacity of 135MW. 50% of which have already been procured and the remainder are undergoing procurement. Commercial operation of the projects will commence in the current year (2022) and the 135MW capacity should be on the grid by mid-2024.

The Ministry’s Integrated Resource Plan includes 300MW Coal, 10MW CBM, 200MW CSP, 50MW wind projects and 100MW Solar PV projects. In the Bobonong 3 Megawatt solar power project, a total of 108 Batswana will be employed in the various stages of the project.  Minister Lefoko Moagi said his Ministry will continue to ensure the policy and regulatory environment are conducive for the private sector participation and citizen participation.

He underscored that Government through the National Energy Policy (NEP), intents to guide the management and development of Botswana’s energy sector for the period from 2020 to 2040, especially the penetration of new and renewable energy sources and to attain energy self-sufficiency, increased energy security and ultimately be a net exporter of energy.


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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