More power to you: Why Botswana should go green

IRENA bats for solar, wind to increase energy access in Botswana

By Madhumita Paul
Published: Wednesday 01 September 2021
A solar panel in Botswana. Photo: Wikimedia Commons
A solar panel in Botswana. Photo: Wikimedia Commons A solar panel in Botswana. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Botswana’s wind and solar power and abundant biomass residues can be harnessed to increase access to energy services, a recent report published by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) has said.

Short-to-medium term actions in the areas of policy, regulation, risk and investment were needed to facilitate the development of renewable energy in Botswana, the report, titled Renewables Readiness Assessment: Botswana, added.

The report was developed in cooperation with Botswana’s Ministry of Mineral Resources, Green Technology and Energy Security.

It supports the Botswana National Energy policy recently adopted by the country’s parliament, which aims to source 15 per cent of its energy from renewables by 2030 and 36 per cent by 2036.

At the end of 2020, Botswana had an installed capacity of 6 megawatt power from renewable sources.

Botswana’s total primary energy supply primarily comprises oil products (34.7 per cent), coal (47.7 per cent) as well as (traditional) biofuels and waste (19.1 per cent).

Botswana’s power system is characterised by unreliable power supply, lack of investment, poor maintenance and high service costs.

The country imports up to 15 per cent of its power from neighbouring South Africa to meet its power demand.

Botswana relies heavily on fossil fuels for its electricity generation, depending on two major coal-fired power plants (Morupule A and B) and a number of diesel plants.

The report noted that domestic renewable resources could be harnessed to meet rising power demand. It also said well-aligned strategies could be developed for using renewable energy in agriculture, transport, heating, cooling and cooking.

The report also highlighted the need for the operationalisation of the Botswana Energy Regulation Authority to govern all current and future electricity generators.

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