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 recent opening of the 107.5 MW interim gas-fired power plant in Ressano Garcia.
He told Engineering News 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 were top priorities 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 Mozam-bican 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.
Dames said the additional baseload power, albeit small, would boost electricity supply in South Africa.
“The [Aggreko] project will provide impetus for us to take advantage of further opportunities for our countries and 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 the 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.”
Further, Soames stated that the flexibility and vision shown by the Mozambique government in supporting the gas-fired power project would encourage investment in the country.
EDM CEO Augusto Sousa Fernando reiter- ated that 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, signifi- cant economic and social value can be created.”
President Armando Emilio Guebuza, who inaugurated the plant, said the project was a historic event and represented a big step towards socioeconomic development in Mozambique through the maximising of benefits associated with natural resources.
He added that sustainable growth was expected in Mozambique’s energy sector over the next few years, as the country’s energy potential was unlocked.