Botswana said its seeking companies to build and operate a 200 megawatt concentrated solar power plant, its biggest clean energy project to date.
In an announcement on Tuesday, the Energy Ministry issued an invitation for companies to pre-qualify for the program, which would involve financing its construction and completing the project by 2027. The state-owned Botswana Power Corporation will buy the electricity produced.
The planned plant is part of the country’s Integrated Resource Plan under which 795 megawatts of new generation capacity will be procured or built by the government in the years to 2040. At least 61% of the new projects will be renewable, including solar and wind plants, according to the Botswana Energy Regulatory Authority.
Currently just 6% of the country’s 600 megawatts of peak electricity demand is supplied by renewable sources. The government has pledged to raise this to 36% by 2036. With much of the country covered by desert, Botswana is suitable for solar projects.
Concentrated solar power projects use lenses or mirrors to focus a large area of sunlight onto a receiver. It is a more expensive technology than photovoltaic solar power.
Mbongeni Mguni, bloomberg.com