The Botswana National Committee aims to promote sustainable energy development in Botswana, as a part of the World Energy Council’s energy vision. As a member of the World Energy Council network, the organisation is committed to representing the Batswana perspective within national, regional and global energy debates. The committee includes a variety of members to ensure that the diverse energy interests of Botswana are appropriately represented. Members of the committee are invited to attend high-level events, participate in energy-focused study groups, contribute to technical research and be a part of the global energy dialogue.
Senwelo Keshia Keipeile holds a bachelor of arts in economics and statistics from the University of Botswana and a postgraduate certificate in enterprise risk management from Botswana Accountancy College. After her studies she joined the Department of Customs at Botswana Unified Revenue Service. Since March 2015 she is senior energy officer of the statistics section of the Department of Energy.
Energy in Botswana
Comparing the survey results of 2018 with 2020, Botswana’s energy leaders have introduced Commodity Prices, Biofuels, LNG and Exchange Rates in the Uncertainties section, as these issues are perceived as having greater impact. The Action Priorities section is relatively unchanged with Coal, Renewables, and Energy Efficiency identified as key. Talent and Regional Integration also become actionable issues due to reduced uncertainty. Overall, issues are perceived in relation to Botswana’s role in the regional energy market.
Commodity Prices move from the Actions section into the Uncertainties section. Botswana is 100% dependent on fuel imports and its petroleum products supplies are fully controlled by the private secto. As international fuel product prices are unpredictable, clearance of high debt to oil companies could result in negative cash flows. Uncertainties emerge as this presents a risk to fuel supply.
LNG’s perceived impact has greatly increased and moves into the Critical Uncertainty section. In May 2019, the Botswana Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) approved an Environmental Impact Assessment for a coal bed methane project and construction of the country’s first gas-fired power plant. The project has already achieved sustained gas flow rates, raising expectations for increased power supply for domestic and regional use.
Exchange Rates are also perceived as having greater Impact and with more Uncertainty. Most energy products and services are traded in US Dollars in the international market, although they are sold in the local currency to final consumers. These products are directly affected by multi-tier exchange rate movements such as BWP/ZAR and ZAR/USD.
Coal leads the Action Priorities section as the Masama Coal Project becomes operational, producing saleable volumes as of August 2019. This is the second of Botswana’s two coal plants aimed for the export markets of South Africa and Namibia. However, domestic coal use may decline after the withdrawal of a major investor in the 300MW extension project for the Morupule B coal power plant in October 2019.
Talent emerges as an Action Priority. There is an increased level of collaboration between the energy sector and academia in major ongoing energy research programmes. Examples of this collaboration are the biodiesel and biogas research projects carried out by the Department of Energy with strong engagement of the academic community. The Department of Energy has signed collaboration agreements with local research and academic institutions to facilitate knowledge sharing and capacity building. It also ratified various strategic alliances with international energy institutions.
Regional Integration is also identified with high impact and low uncertainty. Prioritisation of Regional Integration is being actioned with the expansion of the national and regional power grids. Botswana is currently participating in the o-going SADC Trade in Negotiation Services programme (which is directly related to the World Trade Organisation) with the aim of promoting regional integration in trade. Botswana is also a member of the Interstate Oil Committee under the SACU, which has similar objectives.