Botswana plans to build 200 MW of CSP power, aiming to finish by 2026

Botswana is preparing to construct 200 MW of CSP capacity by 2026 under a new integrated resource plan released by the government in December 2020. According to the government, the procurement process will start this year.

The plan, which received the backing of Botswana and Namibia government officials and the World Bank, proposed a phased approach to large-scale PV and CSP construction.

In 2019, the World Economic Forum’s Global Future Council on Energy proposed a giant solar expansion plan in Botswana and neighbouring Namibia that could provide over 4.5 GW of PV and CSP power to customers in southern and eastern Africa.

Botswana hosts vast swathes of low-cost land that records direct normal irradiance (DNI) of over 2,200 kWh per year, similar to solar levels seen in Morocco, an early mover in CSP deployment. It is a land-locked sub-Saharan country bordering South Africa, Namibia and Zimbabwe. South Africa, located further south, has installed 500 MW of CSP capacity.

In total, the government has approved the construction of 1.5 GW of new capacity by 2040, starting with 135 MW of PV capacity by 2022. Under the plan, Botswana will build up to 800 MW of new PV capacity, 200 MW of CSP, 50 MW of wind, 140 GW of battery storage, as well as 300 MW of coal-fired and 250 MW of coal bed methane (CBM) capacity.

Solar costs have plummeted in recent years and the IRP will kickstart renewable energy deployment in Botswana. Until now, the country has relied on coal-fired power generation and imports. Last year, the government awarded its first power generation licences to companies mainly planning coal-fired power units for exports.

The new build program will provide “competitive, cost-effective and sustainable electricity prices for industries, services and households,” the Ministry of Mineral Resources, Green Technology and Energy Security, said in a statement.

Previous CSP feasibility studies in Botswana have earmarked the country’s North West copper mining region and the diamond mining area of Jwaneng.