Construction of US $480m North West Transmission Grid Connection (NWTGC) power line in Botswana has officially started. The Minister of Mineral Resources, Green Technology and Energy, Advocate Sadique Kebonang presided over the ground breaking ceremony. The project will run course in two phases, each valued at US $280m.
The NWTGC phase I will see the construction of a 400 kv backbone transmission line. There will also be an additional two 400kv and 220kv / 132kv lines and substations. These will connect Toteng, Ghanzi, Shakawe and Gumare to the 400kv line.
Phase II will see the extension of the 400kv grid from Phokoje to Pandamatenga and a 220kv line to Kasane/Kazungula. Advocate Kebonang said the government seeks to ensure power connections across the country to those areas that currently do not have electricity. He said the NWTGC project would open opportunity to reduce dependency on power imports from countries such as Namibia, Zimbabwe and Zambia.
The North West region of the country is currently dependent on Namibia power supply requirements. The minister said the intention was to see Botswana exporting power to neighboring countries in the future. He noted that the project was timely given the recent discovery of some minerals in the Okavango area.
BPC chief executive officer, Dr. Stefan Schwarzfischer said the NWTGC would create employment for 2,100 people in each phase during the period of construction. 81% will be local citizens.
He further added that there is a projection of about 5 000 to 8 000 permanent jobs created in various sectors of the economy once the project reaches completion and business operations grow in the North West district.