Botswana announced on Tuesday that it has decided to double the planned capacity of a coal-fired power plant to be constructed in the country by India’s Jindal Steel and Power Ltd (JNSP.NS) to 600 megawatts (MW).
Minister of Minerals and Energy Lefoko Moagi stated on Tuesday that Botswana aims to provide power to the Southern African region, which is grappling with a severe power deficit.
In November, Botswana selected Jindal from three short-listed bidders to construct its proposed 300MW coal-fired power plant, with production scheduled to commence by 2028.
Moagi, speaking at the signing of an initial power purchase agreement for the plant, revealed, “We recently got approval from the cabinet to add another 300 MW to this greenfield project, taking it to 600 MW.”
“We do not only seek to become self reliant, but also be a net exporter of electricity,” he added.
As per the original agreement, Jindal had committed to investing $1 billion in constructing a 4.5 million tonne per annum coal mine and the power plant. The company would recover its investments by selling electricity to the Botswana Power Corporation (BPC) over a span of 30 years.
The additional 300MW expansion’s time frames and costs have not been disclosed at this time.
Despite recent pressure to reduce coal use due to climate change concerns, Botswana is moving forward with the exploitation of its abundant coal resources, which exceed 200 billion tonnes.
Botswana’s energy demand is projected to increase from the current 600 MW to approximately 800 MW by 2028, while its power supply is expected to grow from slightly over 500 MW to surpass 1,000 MW.