Mozambican government wants US$1 billion to step down electricity

24 November 2009

Maputo, Mozambique, 24 Nov – The Mozambican government plans to secure US$1 billion to transform electricity from high to low voltage, a process which is currently carried out in South Africa, the Mozambican Energy Minister said in Maputo.

South Africa is the biggest buyer of electricity from the Cahora Bassa Hydroelectric Dam (HCB), importing 1,300 megawatts of the 2,075 megawatts that the facility produces with its five turbines, each with a 415-megawatt capacity.

Electricity is transported by high voltage cables to the Apollo sub-station, in South Africa, where its voltage is stepped down and then distributed to the south of Mozambique, with all the costs this involves.

Speaking to Portuguese news agency Lusa, Energy Minister Salvador Namburete said that the funding would be used to carry out a project known as “Espinha Dorsal” (Backbone), a corridor for transporting and transforming electricity linking the north and south of the country.

The importance (of building) Espinha Dorsal is to allow the energy to travel via the country’s interior and for it to be use in projects in the areas of tourism or industry, Namburete noted.

The minister said that the government planned in the next five-year period, to intensify construction of transmission facilities, construction of the Tete-Maputo line, Espinha Dorsal, and noted the importance of implementing generation projects, particularly the Mphanda Nkuwa dam, on the Zambezi river.

HCB’s main customers are Mozambican state electricity company EDM, which buys 400 megawatts, South Africa’s Eskom, which consumes 1,300 megawatts and ZESA, Zimbabwe’s electricity producer and distributor, which receives 200 megawatts. (macauhub)