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GABORONE, June 9 (Reuters) - Botswana invited bids for the construction of a 100 megawatt (MW) solar powered plant on Tuesday as the world’s top diamond producer seeks to become energy self sufficient within five years.
Botswana is currently experiencing power and water shortages, which its central bank warned last month could undercut aims to maintain growth above 4 percent.
“The cost of renewable energy has come down considerably in recent years, and the other advantage is that you can deploy them much quicker,” Minister of Minerals, Energy and Water Kitso Mokaila told a mining conference.
Mokaila also said two 300 MW power stations were due to start generating electricity in 2018 and 2020.
The latter will be an extension to Botswana’s only running power station, the coal-powered Morupule plant, whose output currently sits at 600 MW.
Mokaila said depressed global commodity prices would also affect the southern African country’s mining sector.
The diamond producer grew 4.4 percent in 2014, down from a 9.3 percent expansion in 2013. (Writing by Mfuneko Toyana; Editing by James Macharia)