Morupule A Power Station

From Global Energy Monitor
This article is part of the CoalSwarm coverage of Botswana and coal
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Morupule A Power Station is a 132-megawatt (MW) coal-fired power station near Palapye, Central District, Botswana.


The undated satellite photo below shows the Morupule Power Station, near Palapye, Central District.

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Owned by the Botswana Power Corporation (BPC), Morupule Power Station comprises four 33 MW coal-fired units, with coal supplied from the adjacent Morupule Colliery. The station provided about 80% of the country's domestic power generation. Construction on the existing station started in 1982 and was completed in 1989.[1]

Closure and refurbishment

The Botswana government shut down the power station in 2013 as Morupule B Power Station came online. However, as Morupule B has been plagued with operational problems, the government has sourced funds to renovate and restore Morupule A.[2] Plans are to return Morupule A to its full 132 MW capacity with a life span of 20 years.[3]

In March 2016 Doosan secured the engineering, construction, and procurement (EPC) contract for the refurbishment of the 132 MW plant from BPC. The first turbine will go into operation in 2017.[4] The EPC contract was valued at US$204 million.[5]

In November 2016 the refurbishing project was described as being in trouble, with the scheduled December 2017 completion date now regarded by "insiders" as "impossible." The project was 9% completed, rather than the 43% that had been scheduled, and is now targeted at 2019 completion. Reportedly, 53 Thai nationals working without permits were refusing to work due to poor working conditions and late payment. In addition, two South African nationals were arrested for working without permits.[6]

In December 2016 the project was reported to be 52% complete, rather than the targeted 83%. The reason for delay was that boiler super heaters needed to be replaced rather than refurbished. All four units are planned to be commissioned in 2017.[7]

In November 2017, it was reported that Unit 1 of the plant was undergoing commissioning and the refurbishment of the remaining three units will be completed by the end of the year.[8] However, in March 2018 it was reported that Morupule A was 90% complete, and would return to full operation in June 2018.[9]

In August 2018 it was reported that the re-commissioning of the power station had been suspended twice that year due to technical complications. An anonymous source working on the project told the Sunday Standard that “the project will probably take between six and 12 months to complete unless Doosan hands over the station without completing the work.”[10]

In November 2018 the Chief Executive Officer of Botswana Power Corporation (BPC) Dr Stefan Schwarzfischer said Morupule A was currently undergoing safety checks before being returned to commercial operation, and that the exercise will be concluded in May 2019. Two days earlier, the Minister of Mineral Resources, Green Technology and Energy Security Eric Molale said all units at Morupule A were not working.[11]

In March 2019 it was reported that the "return of Morupule A has become mired in technical and financial issues".[12] The coal plant is expected to come back online in 2020.[13]

Morupule A Back Online

In April 2020, the Botswana Gazette reported that Morupule A was fully operational.[14]

In February 2021, BPC’s Board Chairman said the company anticipated the refurbished plant would provide reliable power over the next seven years before requiring further “significant investment.” He also noted that the refurbishment was in its “defects liability stage,” during which period “construction and construction defects will be remedied under warranty by the contractor which ends in December 2021.”[15]

In May 2022, Botswana's Weekend Post described the progress of Morupule A and the adjacent Morupule B plants by saying: "the country takes 2 steps forward and 3 steps backward as far as local power generation is concerned". Power generation decreased by 18.9% in the forth quarter of 2021.[16] With over $800,000,000 invested in these projects and the intention for them to be the primary energy producer in Botswana, they barely meet even half of the country's electricity needs.[17]

In August 2022, the power station, alongside Morpule B, was reportedly in stable operation. The two plants were generating in excess of the country's energy needs, which opened the possibility of exporting electricity to neighboring South Africa.[18]

Plant Details

  • Sponsor: Botswana Power Corp
  • Parent company: Botswana Power Corporation
  • Location: Palapye, Central District, Botswana
  • Coordinates: -22.5195, 27.037 (exact)
  • Status: Operating
  • Gross capacity: 132 MW (Units 1-4: 33 MW)
  • Type: Subcritical
  • Start year: 1986-89 (original units), 2020 (refurbishment)
  • Coal type: Bituminous
  • Coal source: Morupule coalfield
  • Source of financing:

Articles and resources


  1. "Botswana mulls power expansion plan," Mining Weekly Online, February 17, 2006
  2. "Government forced to refurbish Morupule ‘A’," Sunday Standard, March 20, 2014
  3. "Plans underway to refurbish Morupule A," Botswana Daily News, October 2, 2014
  4. "Doosan to revive coal-fired ‘ghost plant’ in Botswana," PEI, March 30, 2016
  5. "Botswana in fresh multi-billion power project blunder," Sunday Standard, March 14, 2016 (archived May 21, 2019)
  6. "Botswana: All Not Well At Morupule A," The Patriot All Africa, November 14, 2016
  7. "Morupule A refurbishment delayed," Botswana Gazette, December 21, 2016
  8. "Gov't discontinues Matshelagabedi power plant," Mmegi, November 10, 2017
  9. "Morupule A 90% complete, returns in June," Mmegi, March 9, 2018
  10. "Combustion and other problems stall refurbishment at Morupule A," Sunday Standard, August 20, 2018
  11. "BPC turns profitable," The Patriot, November 28, 2018
  12. "Stalemate over Morupule B’s US$800m expansion goes to OP," Mmegi Online, March 22, 2019
  13. "BPC assigned Moody's Baa2 rating," The Patriot, January 13, 2020
  14. "BPC's Unending Troubles at Morupule B," Botswana Gazette, April 3, 2020
  15. "Morupule B Powering Up," The Voice, February 16, 2021
  16. "Electricity Generation: One Step Forward, Two Steps Backward," Weekend Post, May 10, 2022
  17. "Govt Plans to Accelerate Domestic Power Production," Botswana Guardian, May 20, 2022
  18. "China-built power plant transforms Botswana into electricity exporter," Xinhua Net News, August 27, 2022

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