The North West Transmission Grid Connection (NWTGC) in Botswana is set to strengthen the electricity network and grow the country’s economy in various sectors.
Speaking at the ground breaking ceremony of the NWTGC, the Minister of Mineral Resources, Green Technology and Energy, Advocate Sadique Kebonang, explained that government is committed to ensure power connections across the country.
Dr Stefan Schwarzfischer, chief executive officer of the Botswana Power Corporation, enthused: “We have projected about 5,000 to 8,000 permanent jobs created in various sectors of the economy once the project has been completed and business operations grown and established in the North West district.”
The NWTGC project valued at P4.8 billion ($500 million) will be implemented in two phases. It is envisioned that on completion it will reduce dependency on power imports from countries such as Namibia, Zimbabwe and Zambia.
The NWTGC phase I will see the construction of a 400kV backbone transmission line from Morupule B to Maun via Orapa, two 400kV substations and 220kV/132kV lines and substations connecting Toteng, Ghanzi, Shakawe and Gumare to the 400kV line.
Phase II will see the extension of the 400kV grid from Phokoje (Selebi-Phikwe) to Pandamatenga via Dukwi and a 220kV line to Kasane/Kazungula.
NWTGC opens new opportunities
The minister noted that the project was timely given the recent discovery of some minerals in the Okavango area as the mining sector was one of the sectors that relied much in electricity for operation.
Giving the overview of the project, Dr Schwarzfischer said the NWTGC would create employment for 2,100 people in each phase of construction.
Employment during construction will comprise of about 81% local citizens.
Furthermore, Dr Schwarzfischer said the NWTGC would provide grid access to all sectors of the economy, such as mining, with Khoemacau already on site in North West, tourism, commercial, domestic and further improve the quality of electricity and reliability of supply in the country. Read more: Botswana manufacturer bags deal to customise switchgears
The North West region of the country specifically the Okavango district, in case of Phase I, is currently dependent on Namibia power supply requirements. The minister said the intention in the future was to see Botswana exporting power to neighbouring countries.