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Renewables: the new and big bet of Electricity of Mozambique
31 of July 2019
Renewables: the new and big bet of Electricity of Mozambique
Aly Sicola Impija

EDM strategy for 2018-2028 sets that Mozambique and EDM have a huge development challenge ahead, which is to deliver energy with quality and to expand the electricity generation and transmission capacity in order to fulfil the growing domestic (and regional) demand, to promote industrial development and to expand access to energy.

Energy access in the SADC region is only 36% and the increase of access is a big priority. Demand forecasts suggest an increase of 50% until 2030. 2017 alone had a maximum demand of 1.850 MW in electricity in Mozambique and the southern African region peaked 38.897 MW.  For most of the population, those demands have been historically fulfilled with traditional sources, such as wood or charcoal. In 2011, those sources accounted 64% of energy production and 77% of final energy consumption in Mozambique. This traditional energy framework is not sustainable in the long term.

Renewable energy represents a win-win opportunity, contributing to the increase of universal access to electricity in Mozambique and also for the national energy security. This is especially the case in Mozambique, where the main sources of renewable energy (sun, wind, water, etc.) are abundant.

The renewable energy sector will also serve as a driving force for economic growth, in a period where generation and exploitation of electricity costs increase, aging of infrastructures and increase of population are the main challenges. For EDM, traditional renewable energies (solar and wind) became the new and big bet.

Electricity of Mozambique, E.P. has been seriously investing in the promotion and development of renewable technologies as a future and secure alternative for electricity production and a clean source for the diversification of the national energy mix to achieve universal access to electricity for all Mozambicans in 2030, in light of the Energy for All program, launched last year  in October by the Mozambican Government, which includes 40% of access through renewable energies on-grid, off-grid and decentralized, bringing production centres closer to the main load centres, reducing energy losses.

With that in mind, EDM created a new unit, the Directorate for renewable energies and energy efficiency in order to dedicate exclusively to topics related to renewable energies, including research of related technologies. An operational plan is been prepared to coordinate the urgent development of this sector.

According to the integrated master plan for energy infrastructures, we hope to increase 20% the share of renewables in the next 25 years. That will result in 1200 MW of energy production, however due to the instability caused by the intermittence of renewables, mainly from solar and wind, these renewable sources should be complemented by base plants such as energy storage, in this case batteries.

Two solar energy projects (41 MW each) are already under construction, which the first is already supplying electricity, the Mocuba solar power plant. The second, Metoro solar power plant, in Cabo Delgado, will start soon.

Many international and bilateral partners are cooperating with EDM and with the Mozambican Government in this emerging field. For example, under a public-partnership agreement, EDM and some companies started feasibility studies in several locations with renewable energy potential, including three wind power plants Namaacha, Manhiça and Cahora Bassa, and one PV in Cuamba, Niassa province, each one producing 30 MW. EU is also supporting the establishment of a renewable energy tariff (REFIT) and a resources centre. We welcome these structuring partnerships.

It is also important to mention the following initiatives under development. With the aim to catalyse and bring even more transparency to this emergent area, in 2017, we developed the auction program for renewable energies (PROLER), to act as a bidding mechanism for projects in this area. PROLER envisages the launching of four projects of 30 MW each, being three solar power plants and one wind power plant, until 2021, with the French Cooperation Agency (AFD) through the European Union- Africa for infrastructures. “GETFiT – Global energy transfer feed in tariff”, is also underway in partnership with KfW in a total of 120 MW in solar, biomass and small hydro technology. We are also developing an operational plan for renewables at EDM for the next 5 years with AFD support.

Besides this, we also have other internal and external partners, whose main objective is to contribute for universal access in 2030 with renewable energy projects implementation, loss reduction, diversification of the energy matrix and reduction of emissions and climate change mitigation in Mozambique.

In addition, since December 2016 EDM has become ALER’s Member, confirming our commitment for the promotion of renewable energies. We rely on ALER’s support for the dissemination of our initiatives in this area and facilitating the connection with the private sector, helping to attract promotors and donors for the presentation of projects.

We thank and we are delighted with all these partnerships, which will help us to achieve our commitment to become a leading company and a regional energy centre.

Thank you, dear partners!