In 2021, the electricity consumption in Botswana averaged around 178 watts per person, which is comparatively lower than the global average of 412 watts per person. This shortfall suggests that there may be a lack of development in sectors that heavily rely on electricity, which in turn could affect overall economic growth and technological innovation. The majority of this electricity consumption was powered by fossil fuels, specifically coal, contributing to more than half of the total at 96 watts per person. In stark contrast, low-carbon energy sources accounted for close to nothing, with solar energy producing just 0.44 watts per person. Moreover, it's important to note that a significant portion of Botswana's electricity needs, nearly half, are met through net imports.
Considering the data from other countries, there are significant opportunities for Botswana to increase low-carbon electricity generation to both improve sustainability and self-reliance. One approach could involve harnessing nuclear energy, as a number of countries such as Sweden, France, and Finland have successfully done. These nations generate in excess of 500 watts per person through nuclear, demonstrating its potential. Alternatively, or even additionally, Botswana could invest in wind and solar energy infrastructure. Countries that are geographically similar to Botswana, like Australia, generate significant electricity from solar energy - Australia generates 147 watts per person, which is a stark contrast to Botswana's 0.44 watts per person from solar.
When examining the historical trends in Botswana's low-carbon electricity generation, it's clear that relatively little has changed over the past decade. From 2012 to 2021, solar energy contributions have consistently remained at zero. This stagnation indicates a lack of strategic planning and necessary investment into clean, sustainable energy sources such as solar. Given Botswana's geographical position and sunny climate, solar energy represents a largely untapped resource. Actions should be taken to correct this trend and promote the greater use of low-carbon energy sources.