Maputo — The Mozambican and Zambian Presidents, Filipe Nyusi and Edgar Lungu, on Saturday inaugurated a floating power station in Nacala in the northern province of Nampula.
The power station can generate 100 megawatts and can supply northern Mozambique and Zambia.
The Turkish vessel containing the power station has been docked at Nacala port since 18 February. 110 kilovolt cables were connected, linking the ship to two special reception pylons, 65 and 85 metres tall.
“The electricity produced by the floating power station will be injected into the national grid of EDM (the publicly-owned electricity company) at the Nacala sub-station”, said EDM chairperson Mateus Magala, during the inauguration ceremony.
The purpose of the power station, he said, is to guarantee the power supply to northern Mozambique for the next two years. In addition, the supply from this station allows EDM to sell power to Zambia.
Magala said a new source of power was needed for the northern provinces because of the limited capacity of the centre-north line, which carries power from the Cahora Bassa dam on the Zambezi to the north of the country.
That limited capacity was cruelly exposed in January 2015, when major flooding on the Licungo river, in Zambezia province swept away ten pylons on the line, and cut power supplies to the three northern provinces of Nampula, Niassa and Cabo Delgado, and to the northern districts of Zambezia. It took a month before normal power was restored to the north.
Zambia has long had a serious electricity deficit. Recently matters have been made much worse by critically low levels of water in the Kariba dam, a major source of power for both Zambia and Zimbabwe.
The ship carrying the power station is owned by Karpowership, a subsidiary of the Turkish company Karadeniz Holding.
Nyusi declared that the floating power station is “an example of energy cooperation to the benefit of the citizens and the economies of Mozambique and Zambia”.
The Mozambican government, he recalled, has defined electricity as a priority, and recently the supply of power has been growing at an average rate of 12 per cent a year, contributing significantly to the country's Gross Domestic Product.
He noted that the SADC (Southern African Development Community) region currently faces an electricity deficit of 7.9 gigawatts at peak hours. This, plus the drive to industrialise the region, provided opportunities for Mozambique to become a centre for the generation and transmission of energy for the entire region.
Already, the major source of power in Mozambique, the Cahora Bassa dam, sells most of the power it generates to South Africa (and a smaller amount to Zimbabwe). The country has enormous hydro-power potential, plus coal and natural gas deposits, most of which are so far untapped.
Nyusi added that bringing the floating power station into operation results from a long experience of partnership between the Mozambican and Zambian electricity companies, and the need to provide more electricity of good quality.
Lungu was on a three day state visit to Mozambique, during which a memorandum of understanding on electricity was signed. Nyusi said that a coal fired power station will be built in Tete province, plus a new transmission line interconnecting the Mozambican and Zambian grids.
“We are hopeful that, in the future, with an increase in good quality energy, we shall have greater and better productivity in agriculture, in agro-processing, and a greater guarantee of food and nutritional security”, declared Nyusi. Other benefits would include the emergence of new tourism projects, the development of the fisheries sector, and improvement in the supply of electricity for schools, health units and water supply.