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Energy Sector

Botswana’s electricity sector is dependent on large scale thermal coal power plants utilizing domestic coal from reserves estimated at 200 billion tonnes. However, demand for electricity often exceeds supply resulting in load shedding, use of back-up diesel power plants, and electricity imports through the Southern African Power Pool (SAPP).

Electricity Demand and Electrification Rates

Over a third of country’s electricity demand is from the mining sector, followed by the commercial sector, the residential sector and then the government. Peak demand has been recorded at 610 MW for the 2014/15 period. The largest share of distributed electricity in 2015 was consumed in the mining sector (34%), followed by the commercial (30%) and residential sector (27%) with governmental usage accounting for 9%.


Electricity Consumption in 2014


Economic Sector
Industry 1463
Transport 0
Residential 927
Commercial and Public Services 762
Agriculture / Forestry 177
Fishing 0
Other non-specified 120
Total Electricity Consumption 3449


Access to electricity in Botswana is estimated at 53% of the total population, comprising over two thirds of the urban population, approximately 69%, and 32% of the rural population. In 2015 the national utility reported having over 350,000 customers.

Electricity Generation

Botswana has shifted from a country that was highly dependent on the South African electricity to one that produces a majority of its electricity on its own. However, the country’s coal-based power stations, Morupule A and B, have been facing technical issues with strong implications for electricity production. The Morupule B plant has a name plate capacity of 600 MW, though continues to perform below the capacity factor target of 89%, producing at 66.5% over the latest full reporting period of the Botswana Power Corporation (BPC). In addition, a series of complications have led to delays in the planned refurbishment of the 132 MW Morupule A Power Station. Shortfalls have been met in part through back up diesel plants, load shedding, and imports from neighboring countries. The back-up plants Matshelagabedi (70 MW) and Orapa (90 MW) are now owned by BPC, the latter purchased in 2015 following a rental period. Imports represented a significant 42% of national power consumption, totaling 1,509 GWh against total consumption of 3,580 GWh. At 34%, the South African utility Eskom has become a major supplier of energy consumed in the country, with further Southern African Power Pool (SAPP) inflows from Mozambique, Namibia and Zambia. At least one grid-connected solar PV plant (1.3 MW) was commissioned in Phakalane in 2012, as a result of Japanese-Botswana cooperation.


Installed Generation Capacity (MW)

Power Station
Installed Capacity (MW)
Morupule A (coal) BPC 600
Morupule B (coal) BPC 132
Matshelagabedi (diesel) BPC 70
Orapa (diesel) BPC 90

Source: BPC 2015 annual report

Transmission and Distribution

The electricity grid in Botswana consists of power lines ranging from 11 kV to 400 kV. At present, power from the existing Morupule Power Station is transmitted via 33 kV and 220 kV power lines. A single 400 kV power line from the Matimba Power Station in South Africa feeds into the Botswana electricity network at the Phokoje Substation.

There are currently no specific plans to unbundle BPC, the power utility that oversees the transmission and distribution in Botswana. The main challenges in the electricity transmission and distribution network are a lack of grid access in the Northwest and Southwest Regions.


Transmission and Distribution Network in Botswana

Source: Usea


Electricity Tariffs

Electricity tariffs in Botswana have historically been heavily subsidized, leading to a challenging commercial environment for both the BPC and potential future private developers. The 2015 annual report of the BPC highlights concerns around the current tariff rate and received subsidy from the government in terms of the long-term prospects for the corporation.


BPC tariffs, USD, published as of 26 February 2017

Net tariffs (USD/kWh, published as of February 2017)
Fixed Charge Energy charge Demand charge
Domestic customers
< 200kWh 2.12 0.06
> 200kWh 2.12 0.09
Small businesses (not exceeding 400V and loads of 35kW)
< 500 kWh 6.43 0.07
> 500 kWh 6.43 0.11
Medium businesses (not exceeding 400V and loads of 35kW)
All levels of consumption 6.43 0.05 15.32
Large businesses (exceeding 11000V)
All levels of consumption 6.43 0.05 14.42
Public use (government, municipal and street lighting use)
All levels of consumption 6.43 0.15
Water pumping 6.43 0.11

Source: BPC

Off-Grid Electrification

Off-grid electrification initiatives in Botswana are limited though pilot initiatives have been initiated in the country. The Rural Photovoltaic Electrification Project (Re-Botswana) was initiated under UNDP and ended in 2014. Beyond public sector-driven pilots, there are emerging private installers of isolated systems, ranging from solar home systems through to larger systems powering public institutions and tourist lodges.

Key figures

Available statistics:
Official languages
English, Setswana
Population (2016 est.)
Population growth (2016 est.), %
Median age (2016 est.), years
Urbanization rate (2010 - 2015), % p.a.
Urban population (2015), % of total
Rural population (2015), % of total
Population density (2015), per km2
HDI (2014), rank of 188
106 of 188
National Currency
Pula, BWP
Exchange rate (February 2017) USD
1 BWP = 0.10 USD
GDP (2015), USD million current
GDP growth (2015), %
GDP annual growth rate forecast (2020), %
GNI per capita (2015), current int’l USD
Inflation (2016), %
Inflation Rate Forecast (2020), %
Foreign Direct Investment, net inflows (2015), BOP current USD millions
Net official development assistance (2014), current USD millions
Budget deficit (2016), % of GDP
Ease of Doing Business (2016), rank of 190
TI Corruption Index (2016), rank of 168
Installed Generation Capacity (MW, 2015)
Installed Fossil Fuel Capacity (MW, 2015), % of total installed capacity
Hydro Capacity (MW, 2015), % of total installed capacity
Other RE Capacity (2015), % of total installed capacity
Renewable electricity output as % of total electricity output excl. hydro (2015)
Avg. distribution and transmission losses as % of output (2015)
Net electricity imports (2015), GWh
Electrification rate, total (2014) %
Electrification rate, urban (2016 vs 2014) %
Electrification rate, rural (2016 vs 2014) %
Peak demand (Financial year 2014 & 2015), MW
Per capita electricity consumption (2013), kWh
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