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Mozambique Wants to “Repatriate” Cahora Bassa Energy to South Africa

Mozambique Wants to “Repatriate” Cahora Bassa Energy to South Africa

The Mozambican government intends to “repatriate” the electricity it has been exporting from the Cahora Bassa Hydroelectric Plant (HCB) to South Africa since 1979 for domestic use, according to a document to which Lusa had access on Monday 2 February.

The position is expressed in the Strategy for Energy Transition in Mozambique until 2050, approved by the government, in which this objective is assumed for 2030: “the main short-term hydro priority is the repatriation of electricity from HCB, currently exported to South Africa (8-10 TWh, TeraWatt-hours), as well as the addition of 2 GW of new national hydroelectric capacity by 2031”.

The document also agrees that the plant is the “most important in Mozambique, with a total installed capacity of 2075 MW, and is majority owned by the Mozambican state”.

“Since the start of operations in 1979, HCB has exported most of its electricity production to South African state-owned Eskom, with a smaller part supplied to Electricidade de Moçambique (EDM). HCB’s energy is cheap and clean,” reads the document.

Of the total production, only 300 MW of firm energy and 380 MW of variable energy are supplied by HCB to the Mozambican state electricity company. “In 2030, the Power Purchase Agreement between HCB and Eskom will come to an end, and important decisions will have to be made regarding the commercialisation and final destination of HCB’s clean energy,” it adds.

On the outskirts of Maputo, Mozal’s aluminium factory operates, supplied by electricity precisely from Eskom – a supply contract that ends in 2026 – due to the difficulties in covering the Mozambican electricity grid, which is one of the country’s largest electricity consumers, with needs of 900 MW.

According to the document, the increase in hydroelectric production capacity will be guaranteed by the new Mphanda Nkuwa hydroelectric plant and the construction of HCB’s northern station, located in Tete province, in the centre of Mozambique.

“Mozambique’s unique hydroelectric resources will form the strategic backbone for low-carbon energy production and the country’s green industrialisation ambitions, which is a national priority,” said the government.

The document even predicts that, “over the next decade, around 3.5 GW of new hydroelectric capacity will be available” for domestic use in Mozambique, firstly due to the “expiry, in 2029, of the existing export agreement” of HCB with South Africa, but also due to the commissioning, in 2031, of the new 1.5 GW Mphanda Nkuwa hydroelectric project.

“These factors constitute a unique opportunity to generate clean and stable energy for economic development and green industrialisation,” the Mozambican energy strategy document also states.

On the other hand, it states that in the period from 2030 to 2040, “a further 9 GW of new hydroelectric capacity will be added, including the Lupata, Boroma, Chemba and other sites to be identified, of which up to 3 GW could be reserved for export, depending on the growth in national energy demand, which will be prioritised”.

“After 2040, Mozambique will add new hydroelectric capacity, mainly for domestic use in projects to be identified and thus exploiting all its hydroelectric potential, which will be reassessed through new studies.”

On 27 November, Mozambique’s Ministry of Mineral Resources and Energy announced investments of 80 billion dollars (73 billion euros) in the Energy Transition Strategy, to be implemented by 2050.

Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi said on 3 December at the climate summit that the new Energy Transition Strategy would put the country at the “forefront of climate innovation”.

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“This initiative not only puts Mozambique at the forefront of climate innovation, but also positions it as an attractive and sustainable investment destination,” said the head of state, after speaking on one of the panels at the UN climate summit (COP28) in Dubai.



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