29 August 2014

Mozambique: Guebuza Inaugurates Gas-Fired Power Station

Maputo — Ressano Garcia (Mozambique), 29 Aug (AIM) - Mozambican President Armando Guebuza on Thursday inaugurated a gas-fired power station, at Ressano Garcia, on the border with South Africa, which will eventually be able to generate 180 megawatts.

The gas used is a Mozambican resource: it comes from the Pande and Temane gas fields in Inhambane province. The gas is treated at Temane by the South African petro-chemical giant SASOL, and then taken by a 614 kilometre long pipeline to the South African border.

Most of the gas is exported to SASOL's chemical plants in the South African city of Secunda, but Mozambique's share of the gas is increasingly being used by industries in the city of Matola, and to generate electricity.

The first stone for the Ressano Garcia power station (CTRG) was laid in 2013. The total investment is 250 million US dollars, and when fully operational, it will have 18 gas turbines, capable of generating 180 megawatts.

Currently six turbines are installed, and the rest will be added one by one

CTRG is 51 per cent owned by Mozambique's public owned electricity company, EDM, while the other 49 per cent is held by SASOL.

“The Ressano Garcia power station is an example of promoting the development of the country”, declared Guebuza. “Apart from supplying energy for Mozambicans, it creates jobs”.

The president stressed the key role played by Mozambique in meeting the energy needs of the SADC (Southern African Development Community) region. “We possess energy resources”, he said. “We shall continue to share our resources with the peoples of SADC for the benefit of the development of the country and of the region”.

This is the second gas-fired power station built at Ressano Garcia. The first belongs to the Scottish based company Aggreko, with a total generating capacity of 232 megawatts. The Aggreko power is sold to EDM and to the South African and Namibian power utilities, Eskom and NamPower.

Aggreko specializes in temporary power solutions, and so its Ressano Garcia plant will eventually be dismantled.

Energy Minister Salvador Namburete told reporters “Aggreko is temporary, CTRG is definitive”. He expected CTRG to be supplying power for southern Mozambique for at least the next 25 years.

EDM Chairperson Augusto de Sousa Fernando said that the 180 megawatts generated by CTRG is 23 per cent of the total energy consumed in the country, and 42 per cent of the amount consumed in the southern region (excluding the MOZAL aluminium smelter).

In recent years Maputo city and province have been running an energy deficit of 150 megawatts, which has forced EDM to import more power from South Africa, at a heavy cost. CTRG should eliminate that deficit.

Fernando said that by far the cheapest energy EDM purchases comes from the Cahora Bassa dam on the Zambezi. EDM pays the dam operating company, HCB, 1,080 meticais (35.4 US dollars, at current exchange rates) per megawatt/hour.

Power from Aggreko costs EDM more than four times that sum - at 4,500 meticais per megawatt/hour - while imports from Eskom cost 7,500 meticais per megawatt/hour. The imports from South Africa have been costing EDM 26 million dollars a year.

Power from CTRG will cost 3,000 meticais per megawatt/hour, “and this will substantially reduce the amount we spend on buying power”, said Fernando.

The Chief Executive Officer of SASOL, David constable, told the Thursday ceremony that CTRG was an opportunity for the Mozambican government “to use the existing natural resources in direct investment that benefits the communities”

He said there is an increasing demand for natural gas in South Africa, and “the consumption of clean energy will help us reduce the emission of greenhouse gases by two million tonnes a year”.

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