File photo shows solar panels at Botswana's first Photovoltaic solar power plant which was commissioned in Gaborone, capital of Botswana, Aug. 27, 2012. (Xinhua/Sharon Tshipa)
GABORONE, July 2 (Xinhua) -- Botswana is targeting to connect the remaining 20 percent of rural households to electricity by 2020, according to Botswana's energy minister.
Sadique Kebonang, the Minister of Mineral Resources, Green Technology and Energy Security, made the announcement Saturday after touring Morupule B power plant at Palapye, some 280 km north of the capital, Gaborone.
Botswana's rural electrification currently stands at 80 percent.
Kebonang revealed that extensive works are currently ongoing to meet the southern African country's target of electrifying the remaining 20 percent of rural homes in three years' time.
According to Kebonang, the government has initiated a public-private partnership program to boost energy production in the country.
"Botswana energy production capacity will be augmented by renewable initiatives that the government is putting in place with the help of the yet to be disclosed private players," Kebonang told reporters.
Botswana is also setting her sights on gas reserves, extracted from coal beds to play an important role in the country's energy security, Anthony Gilby, the chief executive officer and managing director of Tlou Energy recently told an Africa Independents Forum in London.
According to Gilby, Botswana has a "very attractive power market" and that the country's coal bed methane (CBM) reserves could also be used to help the residents, industries and businesses access electricity.
File photo shows the sunset at Chobe River in Chobe National Park, northern Botswana. (Xinhua/Guo Jun)
Botswana has independently certified gas reserves in place and Gilby believes that the first gas-to-power plant could be online "potentially by 2019" -developments that will boost the country's quest in electrifying close to the remaining 145 000 households in rural Botswana.
Latest figures from Statistics Botswana also clearly shows that electricity generation increased by 11.1 percent while power imports dropped by 32 percent in last quarter of 2016.
The physical volume of electricity generated during that period stood at 783,141 megawatt-hour (MWH), which represents an increase of 77,940 MWH as compared to 705,201 MWH generated during the same period of the previous year.
The bulk of domestic electricity production is generated by the Morupule coal-fired station with more than half of Botswana's power requirements being imported from South Africa and Zambia.