Mozambique to begin building 1,200-MW Cahora Bassa North

The head of Mozambique’s Hidroelectrica de Cahora Bassa (HCB) says the state-owned hydropower operator will begin building the 800- to 1,200-MW Cahora Bassa North hydroelectric project in 2009.

Chief Executive Paulo Muxanga said November 28 that HCB, operator of the 2,040-MW Cahora Bassa hydroelectric project, would build an US$800 million power station in the northern province of Tete to boost regional power supplies. (HNN 8/4/08)

“The government has given us a green light and we should start building it in late 2009 after all technical aspects have been finalized,” Muxanga told state-controlled Radio Mozambique.

Muxanga said HCB has contracted for the maximum capacity of the original Cahora Bassa plant on the southern bank of the Cahora Bassa River. (HNN 9/24/08)

“This means that if Zambia, Malawi, or Tanzania were to approach HCB, we would have to say no,” he said. The three countries have expressed interest in buying electricity from Mozambique.

Muxanga said there has been interest by potential partners in funding Cahora Bassa North.

“This is a project which funds itself, it’s highly profitable therefore banks and other interested partners will not hesitate putting their money in,” he said.

HCB, which suffered decades of neglect and lack of investment, now provides 60 percent of its power to South Africa’s state utility Eskom and 35 percent to the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority. Mozambique consumes the rest. Only 15 percent of the country’s 20 million people have access to electricity.

Muxanga took part in ceremonies November 27 to mark the first anniversary of Mozambique taking control of Cahora Bassa from Portugal, which had owned 82 percent of the project. (HNN 11/28/07)

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