Botswana Steps Up to Help South Africa with Load Shedding Woes

Image sourced from International Atomic Energy Agency

The Botswana Power Corporation (BCP) says that it wants to sell its excess electricity to South Africa’s embattled power utility Eskom. In an announcement, the BCP says that it has started engaging with Eskom to begin the exporting process.

This comes just after South African president Cyril Ramaphosa addressed the nation’s citizens about the government’s renewed plans to end rotational blackouts in the country due to Eskom’s deficiency in electricity generation. A part of that plan includes the importing of power from neighbouring African countries, including Botswana.

“Neighbouring countries in southern Africa, such as Botswana and Zambia, have more electricity capacity than they require for their economies. Eskom will now import power from these countries through the southern African power pool arrangement,” said President Ramaphosa during the address.

BCP says that due to improvements in local power generation capacity, the meeting of local electricity demands and the ability to export its surplus power, the country’s power utility is seeking to engage with Eskom to secure a buyer for its extra electricity generation.

Botswana is currently making headwinds in its Maduo26 strategy, a five-year plan launched last year that the country hopes will see its power generation ability solidify it into “a regional benchmark in electricity supply” by 2026.

South Africa’s Plan to End Load Shedding

During his address to the nation on Monday, Ramaphosa said the South African government will also seek to source new solar and wind projects in order to double the current renewable generation level from 2,600MW to 5,200MW. There will also be a new bid window opening to add battery and gas power to the country’s electricity grid, all in an expedited basis.

Also, in a coup for private investors, Ramaphosa said that government would be removing the licensing threshold for embedded power generation, raising the threshold from 1MW to 100MW. He said that while some red tape has been removed, all new generation projects will need to be registered by the government and must adhere to several environmental regulations.

South Africans have enjoyed a short reprieve from load shedding in the last week as Eskom manages to keep its power generation under control and relatively stable, however the utility consistently asks citizens to try and conserve power as the system is under immense strain.

By Luis Monzon
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