Maputo — The Mozambican government is launching on Thursday a public tender to acquire the electrical material and services necessary for connecting 260,000 households to the national grid.
Speaking in Chibuto, in the southern province of Gaza, at the opening of a meeting of his ministry's Coordinating Council, the Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy, Max Tonela, said this project will cover Nampula and Niassa provinces in the north of the country, the central province of Manica, and Maputo province in the south.
"To speed up electrification in rural areas, we are banking on investments in new and renewable sources of energy, based on isolated networks fed by photovoltaic solar systems, and taking advantage of other locally available energy sources", said Tonela, cited by the independent daily "O Pais".
He believed that harnessing renewable sources of power would play "an important role in reducing asymmetries of access between the rural and urban areas".
Currently, 32 per cent of the Mozambican population has access to electricity. Last year the government launched its "Energy for All" programme which intends to guarantee that all Mozambicans have access to energy in the next ten years.
In 2014, only 25 per cent of the population had electricity in their homes. Since then the homes of an additional 2.8 million Mozambican have been electrified.
Using renewable sources of power, 86 villages have been electrified, according to Tonela's ministry.
Tonela added that there have been great advances in the supply of electrical power over the last five years, notably with the coming on stream of gas-fired power stations in Maputo, at Ressano Garcia, on the border with South Africa, and at Chokwe in Gaza province.
Energy supplies have been strengthened, he continued, by the rehabilitation of the Chicamba and Mavuzi power stations on the Revue river in Manica province, by the installation of a floating power statiion in Nacala Bay, and by the construction of a solar power station at Mocuba, in Zambezia province. Between them, these undertakings added 410 megawatts to Mozambique's electricity generation capacity.
As for hydrocarbons, Tonela believed that the liquefied natural gas (LNG) projects in the Rovuma Basin, in the far north of country, would help create jobs on a large scale, increase the Mozambican gross domestic product and the government's revenues, and promote the diversification of industrial production.