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Morupule B project empowers citizens.

The ongoing defects remedial project at Morupule B Power Plant is said to have engaged 113 citizens.

General manager responsible for generations at Morupule B Power Station, Mr Witbooi Zwelithini said the number of citizens employed was expected to reach 450 when the project was at its peak.

Responding to media questions after a tour of the plant to appreciate ongoing defects remedial works, Mr Zwelithini also noted that the project had engaged 135 Chinese expatriates.

He was hopeful that locals engaged in the remedial works would gain experience through skills transfer, as they would be working with experts on various areas of the plant.

He said although they were advocating for citizen empowerment, their focus was to engage qualified personnel to produce quality works.

'Yes, we campaign for local empowerment, but when it comes to pertinent areas of expertise, we will not compromise,' he said.

Mr Zwelithini also added that doing the remedial works in phases would increase the number of employment opportunities.

He said the contractor had insisted on shutting down the plant and focusing on all units at once, but that they had opted for doing it in phases so that more people could be engaged over a prolonged period.

He said the Morupule A plant was also under refurbishment, revealing that the works were delayed as they could have been completed by the first quarter of 2018.

Mr Zwelithini also said the hiccups that had delayed maintenance works at the power plant had been addressed, and that the two units producing 60 megawatts were commissioned in May 2019.

'By the end of October, the plant will be fully operational producing 162 megawatts of power,' he said.

He said Botswana Power Corporation (BPC) was also reliant on other alternative sources of power.

'We are operating two diesel powered emergency plants at Orapa and Matshelagabedi,' he said, adding that despite the ongoing maintenance and remedial works at the primary sources of power, BPC was able to meet local demand. 'There has never been a time when we were completely unable to supply,' said Mr Zwelithini.

'We only experience challenges during peak hours when consumption is high,' he said.

As for other sources of power, he said government was advocating for the public sector to consider engaging in other sources of power like solar energy.

He said BPC was also working on a solar plant with the capacity of producing 100 megawatts.

Mr Zwelithini said the project would be divided into two plants each producing 50 megawatts.

He said one solar plant would be in Jwaneng while the other one would be in Selebi Phikwe.

He said the idea of extracting methane gas from coal was another form of diversifying power sources.

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Publication:Botswana Daily News (Gaborone, Botswana)
Date:Aug 5, 2019
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