8 May 2014

Mozambique Has 18,000 Megawatts of Hydropower Potential

Maputo — Mozambique has a hydroelectric potential of 18,000 megawatts, Energy Minister Salvador Namburete told an international conference on “Powering Africa” in Maputo on Thursday.

He added that Mozambique has a further 2,430 megawatts available from other renewable resources, 23 billion tonnes of known coal reserves, and over 170 trillion cubic feet of natural gas reserves.

Namburete predicted that the energy mix in Mozambique will evolve to 55 per cent from renewable sources (including hydropower), 25 per cent from coal and 20 per cent from natural gas.

“The enormous proven reserves of coal put Mozambique among the largest producers of coal in the world”, he said. “Large scale investments are currently under way, including the construction of coal fired power stations”. Three mining companies are well advanced with plans to build power stations at the mouths of their mines in Tete province.

A gas fired power station operated by the company Aggreko is already operating at Ressano Garcia on the border with South Africa, and a second station, to be operated by the Mozambican electricity company EDM and the South African petro-chemical giant Sasol, should be concluded later this year.

These power stations draw on the gas fields of Pande and Temane, in the southern province of Inhambane. But much vaster gas reserves have been uncovered in the Rovuma Basin, off the shore of the northern province of Cabo Delgado. Although much of this will certainly be exported in the shape of liquefied natural gas (LNG), some of the reserves could be used to fire new power stations catering for increased electricity demand in the north of the country.

The existence of these and other resources, Namburete said, showed that Mozambique is well able to meet its national electricity requirements and export a surplus to other member countries of SADC (Southern African Development Community).

But exploiting this potential requires private investment in building the electricity generation and transmission facilities, since the enormous sums involved are quite beyond the financial capacities of the Mozambican state.

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