Botswana signs 10 MW gas-fired deal with Tlou to wean off coal, imports

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GABARONE, Oct 18 (Reuters) - Botswana on Monday signed a deal with Tlou Energy (TOU.AX) for 10 megawatts of gas-fired power, as the southern African country seeks to improve its energy security and diversify away from heavily polluting coal.

Under a 20-year resource plan approved in August last year, Botswana plans to add more 600 megawatts (MW) of solar, coal and gas-fired power in the next five years as it looks to wean itself off imports while also possibly exporting power.

Of that, 100 MW is expected to come from coal-bed methane, including the deal with Tlou, announced by the mines and energy minister Lefoko Moagi on Monday.

Botswana's domestic power currently comes 100% from coal, and recurring breakdowns at one of its main power stations have left the country reliant on imports from South Africa and Mozambique, as well as diesel generators, to cover shortfalls.

Botswana has 212 billion tonnes of coal reserves, which are expected to continue to dominate power generation, but coal is also increasingly being shunned by investors because of the reputational risk attached to such a carbon-intensive fuel.

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Reporting by Brian Benza; Writing by Tim Cocks; Editing by Steve Orlofsky

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