Minister of Minerals, Energy and Water Resources Mr Kitso Mokaila recently told stakeholders that the last load shedding was experienced last year around August.
The minister was briefing stakeholders on recent developments relating to the supply of water and electricity, among other issues. He said the stability of the Morupule B “is quite impressive” as power supply remained sufficient despite occasional faults, which had seen some units having to be deliberately taken down to allow maintenance.
He explained that unit 1 had to be taken down after insulation problems were identified and was expected back in operation by the end of next month. Mr Mokaila said unit 2 had gone past its 14 month operational span as per the Factories Act and was also shut down to allow maintenance. Unit 3 is currently running while unit 4 is expected back in operation this week. He also attributed the sufficient power supply to the South African Power Pool, especially from Botswana’s biggest supplier, South Africa.
He said government was also keeping an eye on other alternative supply channels such as the combined 195MW diesel power output in Matshelagabedi and Orapa. He said Morupule A refurbishment was underway and 99MW was expected from it before the end of the year. Mr Mokaila said the refurbishment process was progressing well and government was happy to have undertaken the decision to award the tender. He said a preferred bidder for the construction of the Morupule B unit 5 and 6 had already been identified.
He said Botswana would become one of the leading net exporters of power by 2020. The minister explained that South Africa had announced that it was willing to buy about 3750MW of electricity from its neighbours, and some investors had already shown interest in setting up power plants in Botswana.
Giving a brief overview of the mineral sector, Mr Mokaila said falling commodity prices had negatively affected the mining. He said government would review operations at BCL in a bid to minimise alleged waste so that it ran efficiently. For his part, Mineral Development Company Botswana Board member Mr Mmetla Masire said the main objective of his organization was to acquire and manage assets. He said the objective of the company was to assist government manage assets in the mineral sector.