- SA utility supplied for 40.2% of imported electricity in Q1 of ’22
- But Botswana is progressing to self-reliance with 63.5% in Q1 of ’22
Though Botswana gets most of its electricity supply locally – mainly from Morupule A and B power plants, the South Africa’s Eskom remains a major foreign supplier of the country’s electricity.
Figures availed by Statistics Botswana (SB) show that local generation accounted for 63.5 percent of total volumes of electricity distributed during the first quarter of 2022, with the balance sourced from outside. The bulk of the electricity sourced from outside is supplied by Eskom, which accounts for 40.2 percent of total imported electricity. The rest is supplied by a mixture of power producers such as the Zambian power utility, ZESCO, which accounted for 33.2 percent of foreign supply, according to the latest figures.
It is followed by Electricidade De Mozambique (EDM) and the Southern African Power Pool (SAPP), which supplied 9.9 percent and 9 percent respectively. The remaining 5.6 percent and 2.1 percent were sourced from cross-border electricity markets and Nampower of Namibia. Cross-border electricity markets are described as arrangements whereby towns and villages along the border are supplied with electricity directly from neighbouring countries like Namibia and Zambia.
While local electricity generation may still be inadequate to meet demand, signs are that the country is slowly progressing towards self-reliance. For instance, between the fourth quarter of 2021 and the first quarter of 2022, importation fell by 32.5 percent, from 543,417 Megawatt-Hour (MWH) to 367,001 MWH. This came against the backdrop of local production which went up by 36 percent between the two quarters, from 469,349 MWH during the fourth quarter of 2021 to 638,501 MWH during the period under review.
“This increase was mainly attributed to the improved performance of Morupule A and B power plants. The power plants accounted for 98.8 percent of electricity generated during the current quarter, while Matshelagabedi and Orapa emergency power plants contributed the remaining 0.7 and 0.5 percent respectively,” says the SB report. It is hoped once the troubled Morupule B power, which was commissioned in 2012 after being constructed at a whopping P10.6 billion, will address local energy needs once fully operational in 2024. Since its commissioning, the coal-fired 600MW power plant has never functioned to its full capacity, with remedial works frequently needed.