Mozambican company Ncondezi Energy has announced that it is considering building a solar power project to be added to a coal-fired power plant in Tete province in central Mozambique.
In a statement released on Monday, May 9, Ncondezi said that preliminary studies “confirm” that the area where the company also wants to develop a coal mine has “favorable solar conditions.”
Ncondezi’s chief executive, Hanno Pengilly, said “there is a strong potential” to supply electricity to Mozambique’s national grid “without compromising” the development of the “main project.”
As for the coal-fired power plant, Pengilly said Ncondezi “continues to work” with the Chinese state-owned China Machinery Engineering Corporation (CMEC) group to “get further clarification on financing.”
In January, the company admitted that the partnership with CMEC could be compromised by Chinese President Xi Jinping’s announcement in September 2021 that China would stop building coal-fired power plants abroad.
The Chinese group had secured the contract to engineer, procure and build the plant with the capacity to produce, in an initial phase, 300 megawatts of power.
CMEC was in negotiations with authorities and banks in China over various proposals to finance the plant, project director Zhang Daguang said in a statement released on August 23.
The plant was originally scheduled to start operations in 2023, with plans to eventually reach an output of 1,800 megawatts allowing power exports to South Africa and Zimbabwe.
According to official data, currently only 34 percent of the approximately 30 million Mozambicans have access to electricity.
In March 2021, the Mozambican President, Filipe Nyusi, defended the access to electric energy for the entire population in the next ten years. A goal that will be easier with the start-up of the project in Tete, Ncondezi stressed.
The company guarantees that the coal-fired plant will use “state-of-the-art” technology to reduce polluting emissions and environmental impact.
In May 2021, a report by the International Energy Agency warned that only the total suspension of all new power plant projects fuelled by coal or other fossil fuels would allow the world to meet the targets agreed in Paris in 2015.
According to data from the financial portal Refinitiv Eikon, China is responsible for financing 71.9 percent of all new coal-fired power plants currently under construction.
Ncondezi has the Africa Finance Corporation (19.48 percent) and the Polish company Polenergia (10.31 percent) among the reference shareholders, and the strategic partners of the project are CMEC and the US General Electric.