Botswana’s electricity distribution, generation and importation has gone up, according to a recent study by Statistics Botswana.
The Electricity Generation and Distribution quarterly stats brief by Statistics Botswana states the volume of electricity distributed in the country in the first quarter of 2014 is 933,451 Mega Watts Hour (MWH) compared to 874,871 that was recorded in the first quarter of 2013, showing an increase of 6.7 percent.
This increase, according to the study, can be attributed to the increase in both local generation and importation of electricity to meet the local demand.
During the first quarter of 2014, the volume of imported electricity also increased. Imported electricity amounted to 616, 205 MWH, when compared to 595, 429 MWH imported during first quarter of 2013. This means that there was an increase of 3.5 percent between the first quarter of 2013 and that of 2014.
This slight increase in imported electricity is attributed to technical problems experienced in Morupule B Power plant during the months of February and March 2014, resulting in more importation of electricity to compensate for the shortage.
However it must be noted that despite the slight increase in importation of electricity the country also increased its electricity generation. The index of the physical volume of electricity generation stood at 418.3 during the first quarter of 2014, indicating an increase of 13.4 percent over the same quarter of the previous year (2013).
This is attributed to the commissioning of three of the four Morupule B Power plant generators which was done towards the end of July 2013. Furthermore, this increase is attributable to the continued use of emergency generators located at Orapa and Matsiloje, to feed into the national grid.
The generation of electricity in Botswana started in 1985 with a coal fired thermal power station at Morupule operating at a capacity of 132 MWH. Prior to this period, most of Botswana’s electricity was imported from South Africa’s power utility, Eskom. In 2008 South Africa’s electricity demand started to exceed its supply, resulting in the South African government restricting power exports. As a result, Botswana and the entire Southern African region experienced massive power shortages because of the reduced electricity exports from South Africa.
To avert the situation, Botswana government opted to coming up with alternative ways of sourcing electricity for the country; hence the plan to increase local generation of electricity at Morupule Power Station. The Morupule Power A plant of capacity 132 MWH was augmented with Morupule Power B which is to have a capacity of 600 MWH upon completion (BPC Annual Report, 2010).