State-owned power utility Eskom is keen to pursue more cross-border electricity projects with its peer Electricidade de Moçambique (EDM), CEO Brian Dames said at the opening of the 107.5 MW interim gas-fired power plant in Ressano Garcia this week.
He told Engineering News Online at the inauguration of the plant, which UK-based Aggreko developed in a joint venture with South Africa’s Shanduka Group, that regional cooperation and expansion into the rest of Southern Africa was a priority for Eskom.
“To leverage such projects, we will have to build a massive amount of transmission infrastructure. As Eskom, we intend to play a role across our value chain of generation and transmission. We want to be involved in all aspects of projects, not just buying power, particularly in Mozambique.
“This is part of our strategy and we see Eskom growing particularly in the Mozambican market,” Dames stated.
The power generated from the new gas-fired plant at Ressano Garcia would be divided between the two utilities, with 92.5 MW going to Eskom and 15 MW to EDM over the next two years.
Albeit small, Dames said the additional baseload power would assist with electricity supply in South Africa.
“The [Aggreko] project will provide impetus for us to take advantage of further opportunities for our countries, our utilities and to exploit our options in the region,” he said.
Aggreko CEO Rupert Soames stated that Mozambique was on its way to becoming an energy hub and already played a pivotal role in energy supply in Southern Africa.
“Mozambique borders with several other countries and is geographically well-positioned to provide gas to countries in the Southern African region, but also perhaps to convert the gas into electricity and sell it across borders.
“That is what is so exciting about this project; gas is converted into electricity and through that process a lot of value is added,” he said.
Soames indicated that urbanisation had contributed greatly to growing demand for electricity in Southern Africa, with Mozambique currently showing compound growth in electricity demand of about 12% a year and South Africa also reporting significant demand increase.
“The resource margin is getting tighter across the Southern African region and this project will increase the margin in South Africa by an appreciable amount,” he pointed out.
Further, Soames stated that the flexibility and vision shown by the Mozambican government in supporting the gas-fired power project would encourage investment in the country.
EDM CEO Augusto Sousa Fernando reiterated the project came at an important time in Southern Africa when the need for larger quantities and better quality of power was growing.
He said the project was one of many and that EDM was negotiating two new power plant projects with South African petrochemicals giant Sasol.
Shanduka executive chairperson Cyril Ramaphosa said the project was evidence of the value of potential partnerships that could be structured in the Southern African region. “By combining the resources and capabilities of the private sector and public utilities, significant economic and social value can be created.”
President Armando Emilio Guebuza, who inaugurated the plant, said the project was an historic event and represented a big step towards socioeconomic development in Mozambique by maximising the benefits associated with natural resources.
He added that sustainable growth was anticipated in Mozambique’s energy sector over the next few years, as the country’s energy potential was unlocked.