Maputo — Mozambique plans to export 122 megawatts of electricity to Namibia, from a gas fired power station at Ressano Garcia, on the border with South Africa.
The power source is natural gas, extracted from Temane, in Inhambane province, by the South Africa petro-chemical giant, Sasol.
The electricity is generated by the Mozambican company Gigawatt at Ressano Garcia a few kilometres from the Sasol pipeline that carries the gas from Temane to the Sasol industrial plants in the South African city of Secunda.
The Ressano Garcia electricity generation park is operated by the British company Aggreko. The first phase of the project, inaugurated in 2012, had a generation capacity of 110 megawatts. Now the power station has increased its capacity by a further 122 megawatts to meet a request from Namibia.
The total generating capacity has now reached 232 megawatts.
Speaking on Thursday, at the ceremony inaugurating the expansion of the power station, Mozambique's Energy Minister, Salvador Namburete, said the undertaking represents the commitment of Mozambican and foreign companies to respond in good time to the increased demand for electricity, arising from the economic and social development of Mozambique and the southern African region.
“Because of its location in relation to the other centres of electricity generation in the country, this project plays an important role in improving the stability of the national electricity system, and in the safety and reliability of electricity supply”, he added.
The Minister of Mines and Energy of Namibia, Isak i Katali, said that increased economic activity in the SADC (Southern African Development Community) region has resulted in increased demand for electricity - but power shortages have reached a critical point in several SADC members.
Faced with this situation, the countries of the region have adopted various short and medium term measures to deal with electricity shortages. Namibia has its own generation project, but it will only be complete in mid-2015. In the meantime, Namibia must continue to rely on the short and medium term measures.
“Our government is committed to supporting all efforts tending to improve the electricity supply capacity in the region”, Katali said.
“Namibia will do its part so that this agreement (on the supply of Aggreko power) will be duly implemented”.
Under this agreement, the Aggreko power will reach Namibia on transmission lines owned by the Mozambican and South African electricity companies, EDM and ESKOM respectively. The distance involved is 1,500 kilometres.
Aggreko has now become the second largest electricity producer in Mozambique, beaten only by Hidroelectrica de Cahora Bassa (HCB), the company which operates the Cahora Bassa dam on the Zambezi river.
Cited in an Aggreko press release, the company's regional managing director, David Taylor-Smith, declared that the Ressano Garcia undertaking “is the largest cross-border power station in the world”.
“This project underlines the precision and speed with which Aggreko has managed to provide a large scale temporary electricity capacity to help our clients fill gaps in their energy supply according to the needs”, he said.
In its first phase, the Ressano Garcia power station supplied electricity directly to the Southern African Power Pool (SAPP), the grouping of electricity distribution companies of the SADC region, and the first clients to benefit were EDM and ESKOM.
After the success of the first phase, agreements on the expansion were signed in March this year with EDM and with the Namibian power utility, Nampower. The work to more than double the generating capacity of the power station began at once. Since the design of the station was such as to allow modular increases in capacity, it only took Aggreko 12 weeks to complete the expansion.
The natural gas used is part of the quota of gas reserved for Mozambique under the government's contract with Sasol. The gas is sold to the power station by the Matola Gas Company (MCG), which has the concession for the distribution of gas within Maputo province.