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Mozambique wants more hydroelectricity

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Mozambique wants more hydroelectricity
The Zambezi River above the Victoria Falls when WhyAfrica visited Zambia during our 2023 WhyAfrica Road Trip. Image credit: Leon Louw for WhyAfrica

Mozambique wants more hydroelectricity

Discussions about a new hydroelectric power plant on the Zambezi River are well advanced

By Leon Louw owner of WhyAfrica and editor of the WhyAfrica magazine

Last week Filipe Nyusi, the President of Mozambique, invited Zambia to take part in the project which will see the building of a new power plant similar to the existing Cahora Bassa hydroelectric plant in the Tete Province of Mozambique.

Nyusi was on an official state visit in Zambia to discuss bilateral cooperation with President Hakainde Hichilema, his counterpart in Zambia.

In December last year, Mozambique signed an agreement with a consortium led by French electricity provider Electricite de France SA (EDF) to build the new USD5-billion Mphanda Nkuwa hydropower station.

The consortium led by EDF is made up of TotalEnergies and the Sumitomo Corporation. This consortium will develop, build and operate the Mphanda Nkuwa hydropower project.

The Franco-Japanese consortium is the majority shareholder, with a 70% stake in the venture, while Mozambique’s power utility EDM and Hidroeléctrica da Cahora Bassa (HCB) will take the remaining 30%.

Mozambique wants more hydroelectricity
To be part of the 2024 WhyAfrica Road Trip story send me an e-mail on leon@whyafrica.co.za

Zambezi’s great potential (Mozambique wants more hydroelectricity)  

The dam and hydropower plant will be built along the Zambezi River and will generate 1,500 megawatts of power in the first phase.

The Zambezi River is the fourth longest river in Africa. It flows almost 2,574km through western Zambia, into Angola, along the northern border of Namibia and Botswana and then along the borders of Zambia and Zimbabwe before it enters Mozambique, where it crosses the country and empties into the Indian ocean.

The two main sources of hydroelectric power on the river are the Kariba Dam, which provides power to Zambia and Zimbabwe, and the Cahora Bassa Dam in Mozambique, which provides power to Mozambique and South Africa.

Additionally, two smaller power stations are found along the Zambezi River in Zambia, one at Victoria Falls and the other in Zengamina, near Kalene Hill in the Ikelenge District (source: Wikimedia).

A giant step for Mozambique (Mozambique wants more hydroelectricity)  

“The building of Mphanda Nkuwa will be a giant step for Mozambique to capitalise on the immense hydropower potential of the Zambezi River and the country’s other energy resources,” says Mozambique Energy Minister Carlos Zacarias.

Once complete, it is expected that the dam and hydropower will generate 1,500 megawatts of power in the first phase.

“The new dam will provide low-cost electricity to the southern African country and help position it as a regional exporter of clean, renewable energy,” Zacarias adds.

The dam will link Tete to Maputo, the capital of Mozambique via a transmission line of about 1,300km. The first turbine is expected to operate by 2031.

The power of Cahora Bassa (Mozambique wants more hydroelectricity)  

Mozambique’s Cahora Bassa Dam currently supplies neighbouring South Africa with power.

The Cahora Bassa system is the largest hydroelectric scheme in southern Africa with the powerhouse containing five 415 megawatts (557,000hp) turbines.

Most of the power generated is exported to South Africa through the Cahora Bassa High Voltage Direct Current Lines (HVDC) system. The system includes two converter stations, one at Songo in Mozambique and the other at Apollo in South Africa.

The amount of water that flows through these turbines makes this dam the largest hydroelectric plant in southern Africa. More than 1,450 megawatts get generated from the water passing through the five turbines.

This power is transferred over 1,800km of high voltage direct current lines that run from Songo to the power grids of South Africa. There are two parallel pylons between these two stations, covering 1,400km, of which 900 km is in Mozambican territory. These HVDC lines work at 533 kV and in Mozambique territory have about 4,200 towers (source: Wikimedia).

WhyAfrica will visit Cahora Bassa during our upcoming annual WhyAfrica Road Trip through South Africa, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Malawi and Tanzania and will follow part of the Zambezi River as it makes it way from the Tete Province in Mozambique to the coast.

The Tete Province is thought to host coal reserves of more than 6.7 billion tons. The largest coal reserve discovered in the Tete Province is the Moatize metallurgical and thermal coal deposit which contains 2.4 billion tons of coal and is located with the Moatize sub-basin.

There are also a number of early-stage mineral exploration projects in region, as well a significant gas exploration project in Zimbabwe that is of great interest.

The 2024 WhyAfrica Road Trip is made possible by premier sponsor Remote Exploration Services (RES), Gold sponsor BBF Safety Group, Silver sponsor NSDV and bronze sponsors Project Link, ATA International Holdings, Siyathembana and ESG Africa Conferences.

The WhyAfrica Road Trip is backed on our third leg through Mozambique by the Chamber of Mines of Mozambique.

Mozambique wants more hydroelectricity

Mozambique wants more hydroelectricity
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