Mozambique Lights Up Power Sector with Solar, Hydro Investments
At 187 GW, Mozambique holds the largest potential power generation capacity in Southern Africa. Moreover, as hydropower, coal, natural gas and solar each continues to increase their respective share in the country’s energy mix, Mozambique is positioning itself as a major regional power producer. Despite prolific power generation potential, Power Africa notes that Mozambique’s access to electricity rate stood at only 31.1% in 2020, due to unfavorable market conditions and limited transmission and distribution networks. Accordingly, the country holds significant potential for domestic infrastructure development, in which government priorities regarding grid expansion to rural areas, power infrastructure construction and additional generation facilities are creating investment opportunities for both private and public sector players.
Hydropower Leads the Way
Mozambique’s predominant power generation source comes from its vast hydropower resources. The country’s hydropower potential sits at approximately 12,500 MW – the largest in sub-Saharan Africa. One of Mozambique’s most significant renewable energy achievements, and its primary power generation source, is the Cahora Bassa Hydropower Plant. This 2,075-MW facility represents the largest hydro plant in sub-Saharan Africa, supplying vital electricity domestically and to the wider region. Operated by Independent Power Producer (IPP) Hidroélectrica de Cahora Bassa, the facility has not only positioned Mozambique as a major facilitator of Africa’s energy transition, but also emphasized the potential of the resource in addressing regional power needs. Cahora Bassa exports approximately 73% of the electricity produced at the facility to Southern African Development Community members through the Southern African Power Pool. Accordingly, Mozambique only uses 500 MW domestically, emphasizing the need for alternative power generation solutions to fulfill increasing domestic demand.
In addition to the Cahora Bassa plant, there are currently five other hydropower facilities operated by the privatized national utility, Electricidade de Moçambique (EDM), which feed electricity to Mozambique’s national grid. These include the 52-MW Mavuzi plant, 38.4-MW Chicamba plant, 16.6-MW Corumana plant, 1.9-MW Cuamba plant, and 0.73-MW Lichinga plant. With additional proposed projects in the pipeline including the 1,500-MW Mphanda Nkuwa project and 1,245-MW north bank expansion at Cahora Bassa, Mozambique is prioritizing the development of its hydropower resources, serving as a model for other hydro-rich African countries.
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