African Energy negotiating with BPC to connect to

12th February 2018
Frazer Tabeart, African Energy MD Source:The Midweek Sun


By Keikantse Lesemela - Reporter

African Energy has announced that it is currently negotiating with Botswana Power Corporation (BPC) to use the national transmission grid. The coal mining company is currently developing an integrated coal mine as well as a 450MW power plant in eastern Botswana to export power to Zambia and neighbouring countries. African Energy Managing Director, Frazer Tabeart highlighted in a statement that dialogue continued with BPC regarding connection of Sese into the local 400kV transmission grid at Phokoje substation and use of the BPC transmission grid.

“An application for a Transmission Connection and Use of System agreement was made to Botswana Power Corporation. Preliminary discussions on the transmission/wheeling of power from Botswana through Zimbabwe and into Zambia have been held with Botswana Power Corporation and the Southern African Power Pool and are ongoing.” said Tabeart. He said technical studies for the Sese coal and power project have largely been completed to prefeasibility standard. “Detailed engineering studies and completion of a formal mine plan will be completed once commercial aspects of power wheeling and transmission have been finalised.” he said. Recently BPC launched the North West Transmission Grid Connection project, which will allow for development and expansion of commercial ventures, including mining operations into Northwest of the country.

The NWTGC is expected to provide grid access to all sectors of the economy including mining, tourism, commercial, domestic and improve electricity supply in the country. Currently BPC has signed Memorandum of Understanding with the mining company, Khoemacau to connect to the national grid. Through the project, the country aims to be energy sufficient with diversified, safe and clean energy sources, and to be a net energy exporter by 2020. In that regard, the country has embraced and supported the participation in power generation by the private sector.

However, the national power demand averages 550MW, of which the current national grid produces 450MW and150MW is imported from South Africa. African Energy also highlighted that a fully detailed application for an electricity Generation and Export License was submitted to the Botswana Energy Regulatory Authority last year July and follow up meetings have been held with BERA, with more expected in the next quarter.

The Environmental and Social Impact Assessment for the 300MW Sese Integrated Power Project has been updated for a larger project to include up to 500MW of power generation and the associated minor increase in volumes of coal mining/processing and airborne emissions. Tabeart explained that the updated document would be submitted to the Department of Environmental Affairs in the next quarter. African Energy is also working on a 1.25 billion tonne Mmamantswe coal project, which is 20km from the international border with South Africa and is close to the regional power transmission grid. Mmamantswe has an approved Environmental Impact Assessment for up to 10Mtpa coal mining and up to 2,000MW of power generation. The project also has an 8GL/a registered water well field at Artesia, which could provide enough water for such a project. Technical studies have demonstrated the suitability of Mmamantswe coal for processing into a fuel-powered station similar to that used in the adjacent Waterburg coalfield in South Africa.

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