Energy Framework

Governmental strategy for development of Renewable Energy (RE) and for environmental technologies: the overall goal of the National Energy Policy is to meet the energy needs of Botswana for social and economic development in a sustainable manner. Stimulating sustainable economic growth by promoting competition, efficiency and investment in the sector and thus achieve poverty reduction, improving institutional arrangements and governance in the energy sector, improving energy security through diversity in supply and through regional cooperation and energy trade were some of the main objectives of the National Energy Policy. The declining costs of renewables provides an opportunity to achieve these objectives in a cost efficient way. For long, Botswana government has worked to establish the Botswana Energy Regulatory Authority (or BERA) to oversee energy matters in the country. Finally, the bill has been passed by the Parliament of Botswana in summer 2016. This resolution comes at a time when the number of private and international investors looking to launch power generation projects in Botswana is rising. Nevertheless there is not a timetable for the establishment of the Authority, this is a significant first step in adapting and updating the legislative framework in Botswana to better support the necessary new investment in increased generation capacity in the country. The Authority will focus on the promulgation of new regulations to update and set out in greater detail the licensing procedures of the Electricity Supply Act. Meanwhile, a Renewable Energy Strategy has been developed in collaboration with the World Bank, which has outlined a roadmap through the programme conducted by the Wealth Accounting and the Valuation of Ecosystem Services (WAVES) to promote sustainable development. In fact, a clear framework for investment in clean energy will help Botswana’s goal to diversify its energy mix.

Electricity Regulatory Framework: the regulatory framework for electricity generation in Botswana is set out in the Electricity Supply Act, in terms of which the Ministry of Minerals, Energy and Water Resources (MMEWR) is responsible for the regulation of electricity generation and distribution. The Act places a prohibition on the generation or supply of electricity without a license issued by the Minister. Until 2014 the Act has provided minimal guidance on licensing procedures, as the only energy generator, Botswana Power Corporation is state-owned. The new legal framework will facilitate private sector entry, particularly independent power producers (IPPs) in the energy sector, which until now has been dominated by Botswana Power Corporation.

Environmental sustainability: Botswana is pursuing sustainability objectives in a manner that recognizes the importance of integrating the value of natural assets into existing national frameworks. The increased urbanization and inappropriate environmental practices have highlighted the need to pursue sustainable environmental policies in order to conserve natural assets, and have put pressure on environmental goods through increased consumption and negative environmental outputs such as pollution, deforestation, soil degradation, green gas emissions. Thus, Botswana also subscribed to global sustainability agreements and processes, and is committed to integration of economic, environmental and socio-cultural values. These sustainability imperatives will enable the country to transition to a green economy in order to endow economic growth and investment while increasing environmental quality and social inclusiveness.2

Renewable energy: country’s energy demand is increasing and it outstrips its supply. Botswana’s energy sources consist primarily of electricity, fuel wood, Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG), petrol, diesel and gas. Fuel wood usage has been declining over the years while LPG and electricity consumption has been on the rise. Particularly, the country is endowed with ample solar energy potential, but solar, biogas and biodiesel constitute a small proportion of energy supply.

2 Source: Wealth Accounting and the Valuation of Ecosystem Services (WAVES) - Country Report 2016

3 Source: UN Division for Sustainable Development (DSD) - Energy Policy Brief


Solar Energy

Solar energy potential in Botswana amounts to over 3,200 hours/annum with a strength of 22 Mega Joules per hour (MJ/hr), average solar radiation is excellent at 6.1 KWh/m2 per day – representing one of the highest solar strengths in the world. A number of photovoltaic pilot projects have been started in Botswana since the 1990s. National Photovoltaic Rural Electrification Programme was drawn out in 2003, aiming at exploring the viability of electrification through photovoltaic systems. However, the adoption of solar has been slow due to a number of barriers including technology uptake, low wattage output, costs. Problems of perceptions are still obstructing the wider use of solar and are exacerbated by the mismatch in prices between solar and grid services which are themselves a reflection of the differences in government subsidy between the two services. Due to the expanse of the country and the small population-size in many of Botswana’s villages, off-grid electricity generation offers better returns using a hybrid of solar and biogas where appropriate. The hybrid solar biogas provides for the peak 7-8 pm energy demanding where in solar alone would require extensive investments in battery-banks for storage. (Source: UN Division for Sustainable Development (DSD) - Energy Policy Brief)

Wind Energy

Wind energy potential in Botswana is moderate. According to European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) average wind speed at the height of 100 meter is 5-7 m/s.


Botswana is located in Southern Africa a land locked country with an extension of 582,000 km2 and with a population of 2’214,854 the majority of them located in the following cities: Gaborone, Francistown and Maun. The Country limits with Namibia, South Africa, Zimbabwe and Zambia.

Botswana is a member of Southern African Development Community (SADC) and is member of the Energy protocol in which required to work towards regional integration and cooperation in energy development.

According to the World Bioenergy Association biogas is defined as: “a gas produced by anaerobic fermentation of different forms of organic matter and is composed mainly of methane (CH4) and carbon dioxide (CO2). Typical feedstock’s for biogas production are manure and sewage, residues of crop production (i.e., straw), the organic fraction of the waste from households and industry, as well as energy crops including maize and grass silage”[1]

In the second communication of Botswana to the UNFCCC it was indicated the willingness of the country to replace fuel wood with the use of LPG and biogas.

The fuel wood is mainly collected by hand, by individual households being the majority women, with the aim to meet their energy needs for cooking, and heating but resulting in wood shortages and in local depletion. In addition, fuel wood is use in the residential sector approximately 77 percent  households  in  rural  areas  and  46  percent  nationally  wide, while the  trend  observed  is  a  move  away  from  wood  to use  LPG  gas  for  cooking, in rural areas the challenge remains. Governmental institutions and small to medium commercial  enterprises, especially use diesel fuel  wood  as the  principal energy source.

Botswana is currently developing a project with the support of the Global Environmental Facility (GEF) through the United Nations Development Program field office in Botswana (UNDP) as an  implementation Agency  in which is promoting the utilization of biogas from agro-waste in South Eastern Botswana.

The abovementioned project aims to deliver small-scale biogas and bio-fertilizer, especially for women. The project intends to develop 1000 small digesters, 3 medium scale digesters (including Lobatse BMC) and I large scale digester from municipal waste.   

Botswana indicates the need for technology transfer in the different phases of the biogas industrial chain of production:

a) Biomass for the production of wood chip briquetting, the development and transformation of elephant grass;

b) Technology transfer for biogas production in which is necessary to develop sewerage  biogas generation, slaughterhouse biogas generation and landfill biogas generation[2].


Botswana has a large cattle population with an average of 3 million cows, 31,330,000 poultry and 1,200,000 goats currently the manure is use as soil fertilizers. It is important to take into consideration that cattle’s are spread in the fields and not concentrated in farms.

In the case of poultry there are 31 registered farms and 10 slaughterhouses in the country with a capacity of 5,600 to 5.8 million broilers per year. In this case this the manure is centralized in the farms. An average of 86,000t of poultry manure, 439 million litres of waste water and blood, 1.3 million t of feathers are produced annually.

There are 12 municipal slaughterhouses, 30 private slaughterhouses and 3 slaughterhouses from Botswana Meat Commission (BMC) that sacrifice the following number of cows:  

o          BMC Lobatse 400-600 animals daily;

o          BMC Francistown  400 animals daily;

o          BMC Maun 120 animals

The cow dung generated by cow is 20kg and the amount of wastewater generated is 2.3 to 2.5 m3 an average.

There is a potential to capture and transform the blood and fat of the slaughterhouse present in Botswana. In addition,  BMC has some industrial capacity installed in the waste water treatment but they lack the technical capacity to build a project and they are willing to receive support in this sense.


The land cover is dominated by savannah in which the majority of plant communities found include shrub savannah, tree savannah on rocky hills, semi-arid shrub savannah, aquatic grassland, dry deciduous forest and wood land.

The woody biomass loading ranges from 3.6 to 4.3 tons per ha per annum for shrub savannah. The Acacia species are dominant in the sand-veld savannah, while in the Eastern Botswana fall is characterize by Peltophorum, Combretum, Terminalia, Colophospermum and Acacia Species.

While there are plantations of maize and sorghum the first are prioritize for human and animal consumption and there is no consideration for this cultivations for energy crops due to the water consumption and food security.


Botswana has nearly 17 million tonnes of  municipal solid waste from the 10 main landfills and for 2020 it is estimated a growth of 31 million tonnes.

There are 20 landfills owned by all District Councils and 7 of them are in middle cities such as: Selibe Phikwe, Lobatse, Jwaneng, Masunga, Serowe, Maun, Tamotswa. Two in a large city such as Francistown, Gaborone and one in a small city Pilane.  Some others where to be develop in Kasane, Kang and Ghantsi.

The type of waste is:

·         40% inert,

·         35% domestic,

·         16% building rubble,

·         7.8% biodegradable

·         Others ( tyres, metal, glass, paper &  cardboard) .

Sewerage System

The policy for Wastewater and Sanitation Management[3] estimates that 300,000 m3 per day of treated wastewater will be produced in Botswana by 2020.

The strategy outlines Botswana’s vision for waste management. The hierarchy of waste management in the strategy is based on prevention, re-use/recycling, treatment and disposal and outlines strategies for  specific types of waste such as household waste, paper, agricultural waste, scrap metal, food industry waste and sewerage sludge. Interest are for recycling technologies and use of recycled products

There are already biogas plants at the Gaborone and Francistown municipal waste water treatment plants that already produce biogas to provide heat energy to biodigesters and incinerators.

Botswana in 2008 has an average of 16.9 million tons per year of waste water treatment plants.

Biogas projects already in Botswana

Hospitality sector has initiate efforts for environmentally friendly initiatives such as the Cumberland Hotel and the Gaborone Sun Hotel which has establish projects in biogas while the Sun Hotel using solar energy for its hot water requirements[4].

There is a company interested in building a biogas pilot plant from Vetiber grass and napier grass as well with biomass from the slaughterhouse, the abovementioned company already develop efforts they count with a written project and land and search for investment partners.


[1] Fact sheet on Biogas - An important renewable energy source, consulted 09, 2017  at

[2] Botswana 2d National Communication to the UNFCCC pg. 80

[3] Botswana Biomass Energy Strategy, Botswana Ministry of Minerals Energy and Water Resources Energy Affairs Division 2009.

[4] Machachy Delly et al, Exploitation of Renewable Energy in the Hospitality Sector: Case Studies of Gaborone Sun and Cumberland Hotel, International Journal of Hospitality & Tourism Administration Administration. October 2015.