16 Mar

Botswana Turns Power Exporter After a Decade of Imports

Botswana is exporting power for the first time in 10 years, a far cry from the days when Africa’s biggest miner of diamonds was forced to import as much as 75 percent of its needs.

State-owned Botswana Power Corp. started “limited” sales to the Southern African Power Pool’s auction platform, where regional utilities buy and sell electricity, Chief Executive Officer Stefan Schwarzfischer said in an interview Thursday.

Sales have been made possible by improved plant availability at the flagship 600MW Morupule B plant, which is now producing 450 megawatts and is expected to reach full capacity next month, Schwarzfischer said.

Exports will rise to a targeted 100 megawatts once the 120MW Morupule A plant is put back online in July, following a six-year refurbishment program, he said.

Botswana’s problems started in 2008 when its main provider, South Africa’s Eskom Holdings SOC Ltd., cut supplies citing a lack of power in its home market.

Botswana fast-tracked the Morupule B plant in response, but it was beset with construction problems and machine failures.

“Namibia and South Africa have been the buyers thus far through the SAPP platform,” Schwarzfischer said. “While we would want bilateral supply contracts, the countries we know could pay us don’t need it and those that need the power have problems paying.”

Source: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-03-15/botswana-turns-power-exporter-after-a-decade-of-imports

12 Feb

Zuma’s D-Day Nears as Ramaphosa Promises Power Transition

South African President Jacob Zuma’s fate is set to be sealed when the top leadership of the ruling African National Congress meets to conclude the transition to a new administration.

The National Executive Committee will assemble on Monday in the capital, Pretoria, as Zuma, 75, has defied growing pressure to resign since his deputy, Cyril Ramaphosa, replaced him as party leader in December. His nine-year tenure has been marred by scandal and eroded support for the ANC.

“Our people want this matter finalized,” Ramaphosa told a crowd of about 3,000 people on the Grand Parade next to the Cape Town city hall on Sunday to commemorate the 28th anniversary of Nelson Mandela’s release from prison.

“The National Executive Committee will be doing precisely that. We know you want closure on this matter.”

While the 65-year-old lawyer’s rise to the ANC’s top post assured him of being its presidential candidate in elections next year, the new leadership wants an early exit for Zuma so it can begin rebuilding support.

Should Zuma refuse to obey the national executive’s order to step down, it could tell its lawmakers to use their majority in parliament to vote him out of office, clearing the way for Ramaphosa to take over.

Mandela Address

Ramaphosa delivered his speech at exactly the same venue and time when he held the microphone for Mandela’s address 28 years ago on the day he was freed from a 27-year incarceration. The rally Sunday marked the start of a series of events to celebrate the centenary of Mandela’s birth.

“As we emerge from a period of difficulty, a period of disunity and discord, this Nelson Mandela centenary year offers us what I would call a new beginning,” said Ramaphosa, who was Mandela’s favored successor two decades ago. “It offers us an opportunity to restore to our national life the values and principles for which he so firmly stood.”

To read the full article, click here.

19 Sep

Nigeria announces $5.8 billion deal for record-breaking power project

The government of Nigeria has announced the award of a $5.8 billion contract to build what will be the largest power plant in the country.

The 3,050-megawatt Mambila hydroelectric power project in the state of Taraba will be delivered by a consortium of Chinese state-owned construction firms.
The megaproject will feature four dams between 50 and 150 meters tall, and take six years to complete, the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, told reporters in Abuja.
The Chinese Export-Import Bank will finance 85% of the development, with the Nigerian government contributing 15%.
Minister Fashola claimed the project will deliver far-reaching benefits.
“(Mambila) will have a transformational effect on all of Nigeria’s socio-economic development,” he said through a government spokesman, “It will have considerable positive impact on electricity supply nationwide, productivity, employment, tourism, technology transfer, rural development, irrigation, agriculture and food production.”

False starts

The Mambila hydropower plant has been in development for over 30 years, but previous administrations have made little progress.
In 2007, the Nigerian government awarded a $1.4 billion contract to two Chinese construction firms for a 2,600-megawatt plant, but the agreement broke down soon after.
Attempts were made to revive the deal without success. But the deadlock was broken by conversations between the presidents of China and Nigeria in 2016, according to the spokesman of Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari.
“The major breakthrough in the execution of this project was achieved when President Muhammadu Buhari initiated discussions at the level of the President of the Peoples Republic of China in the course of his State Visit (in 2016),” wrote government official Garba Shehu.
The meeting resulted in the creation of a consortium of Chinese companies to deliver the project, according to Shehu, and an agreement that the Chinese government would commit finance to it.