Botswana plans to build 200 MW of CSP capacity by 2026, according to a new integrated resource plan (IRP) published by the government on December 15. The procurement process will start this year, it said.

Botswana is a land-locked sub-Saharan country bordering South Africa, Namibia and Zimbabwe. 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.

The type of CSP technology installed in Botswana may depend on storage requirements.

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.

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. South Africa, located further south, has installed 500 MW of CSP capacity.

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

                          Levelised cost of solar, wind (global average)

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Source: International Renewable Energy Agency: ‘Renewable Power Generation Costs in 2019.’

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.

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.

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