Mozambique’s refurbished 2,040-MW Cahora Bassa to aid region

National utility Electricidade de Mocambique (EDM) says rehabilitation of units of the 2,040-MW Cahora Bassa hydroelectric project will enable Mozambique to supply additional electricity to its power-short neighbors including long-time power customer South Africa.

EDM said government-owned hydro operator Hidroelectrica de Cahora Bassa (HCB) is making available 300 MW to the region due to recently completed rehabilitation of equipment at Cahora Bassa that brings availability of five turbine-generators to 95 percent.

In that context, EDM said one of the units that normally is used to assure the supply of firm energy to the region will be available at 95 percent to supply energy to the region.

HCB adviser Juliao Pondeca said refurbishment at Cahora Bassa cost more than US$60 million, a British Broadcasting Co. report said.

EDM said a February meeting of ministers of the Southern Africa Power Pool countries anticipated their 2008 demand will total 47,028 MW, compared to available capacity of 48,079 MW. In 2009, they predict demand of 49,250 MW will exceed available capacity of 49,153 MW, a trend that is expected to continue.

In February, Mozambique’s development minister said the government would liberalize foreign investment rules and offer more incentives to investors in a bid to boost overseas cash inflows by 50 percent to US$12 billion in 2008. Among other initiatives, Mozambique hopes to lure foreign investment for a planned upgrade of Cahora Bassa. (HNN 2/26/08)

Badly neglected during Mozambique’s civil war, Cahora Bassa has the potential to produce 14,000 MW. Mozambique’s Ministry of Energy has been recruiting consultants to help reform its energy system and increase access to electricity. Part of the program is to develop the 800- to 1,200-MW Cahora Bassa North hydro project, as well as others.

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