Botswana to build 200 MW of CSP; Cubico buys 100 MW of CSP in Spain

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The type of CSP technology installed in Botswana may depend on storage requirements. (Image credit: Prognone)

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Botswana to build 200 MW of CSP by 2026

Botswana plans to build 200 MW of CSP capacity by 2026, according to a new integrated resource plan (IRP) published by the government on December 15. The procurement process will start this year, it said.

Botswana is a land-locked sub-Saharan country bordering South Africa, Namibia and Zimbabwe. In total, the government has approved the construction of 1.5 GW of new capacity by 2040, starting with 135 MW of PV capacity by 2022. Under the plan, Botswana will build up to 800 MW of new PV capacity, 200 MW of CSP, 50 MW of wind, 140 GW of battery storage, as well as 300 MW of coal-fired and 250 MW of coal bed methane (CBM) capacity.

Solar costs have plummeted in recent years and the IRP will kickstart renewable energy deployment in Botswana. Until now, the country has relied on coal-fired power generation and imports. Last year, the government awarded its first power generation licences to companies mainly planning coal-fired power units for exports.

The new build program will provide "competitive, cost-effective and sustainable electricity prices for industries, services and households," the Ministry of Mineral Resources, Green Technology and Energy Security, said in a statement.

Botswana hosts vast swathes of low-cost land that records direct normal irradiance (DNI) of over 2,200 kWh per year, similar to solar levels seen in Morocco, an early mover in CSP deployment. South Africa, located further south, has installed 500 MW of CSP capacity.

Previous CSP feasibility studies in Botswana have earmarked the country’s North West copper mining region and the diamond mining area of Jwaneng.

                          Levelised cost of solar, wind (global average)

                                                               (Click image to enlarge)

Source: International Renewable Energy Agency: 'Renewable Power Generation Costs in 2019.'

In 2019, the World Economic Forum's Global Future Council on Energy proposed a giant solar expansion plan in Botswana and neighbouring Namibia that could provide over 4.5 GW of PV and CSP power to customers in southern and eastern Africa.

The plan, which received the backing of Botswana and Namibia government officials and the World Bank, proposed a phased approach to large-scale PV and CSP construction.

Cubico expands Spanish CSP portfolio to 250 MW

Cubico Sustainable Investments has agreed to buy 100 MW of Spanish CSP power capacity and 174 MW of PV capacity from Grupo T-Solar, the company announced in a statement.

Cubico will acquire the 50 MW Moron and Olivenza CSP plants, expanding its Spanish CSP portfolio to 250 MW.  The fund bought the 50 MW Arenales plant last year and the 50 MW Andasol 1 and 50 MW Andasol 2 plants in 2017.

Spain has seen a spate of CSP plant resales in the last few years after new tariff legislation and proven plant performance boosted investor confidence.

Spain has 2.3 GW of CSP capacity but domestic build was halted in 2013 after the government replaced feed-in tariffs with regulated asset value-based payments to recoup a state deficit. New tariff laws in 2019 guaranteed payments for operators, providing greater regulatory stability.

CSP developers also have a chance to secure new projects in national power auctions launched in December.

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