ALY SICOLA IMPIJA

Mozambique 2020 | ENERGY | INTERVIEW

With ambitious plans to increase the national generation capacity by 600MW in the next five years, EDM seeks to both meet domestic demand and target external buyers.

What are the key priorities of the electricity sector?
Our biggest priority is to increase the national generation capacity by 600MW within the next five years through a diversity of power stations. 400MW will be generated through the Temane project, a gas-fueled power plant. The remaining 200MW will be produced through seven renewable energy power stations around the country. The Temane project will be operational by 2024, and the renewable power stations should take 10 months to build, with an expected starting date of March 2021. We are also partnering with KFW for the GetFiT renewable project in the fields of solar and hydro energy, as well as with various investors who are supporting us in the process of building power stations such as the Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA) and other banks. This 600MW is intended to also develop the nation's industrial matrix, whereby 160MW alone is destined for the Beluluane Industrial Park in Matola. Besides internal consumption, we have received requests for energy supply from neighboring countries such as Zimbabwe and Zambia, whereby a part of output will we exported.

How has the energy sector in Mozambique evolved over your 20-year career?
We have diversified our energy matrix. There was a time where we only had hydroelectric power stations—Cahora Bass and then smaller stations in Manica, Mavuzo, and Chicamba. Now, we have several thermoelectric power stations: Ressano Garcia has two power stations, and there is one in Maputo with a 100-MW capacity. The 400-MW Temane project will add to this. We are also expanding our renewable energy mix such as solar and wind in efforts to avoid overdependence on water as an energy resource. Second, we were able to extend the electricity grid to all of the 154 districts' headquarters. The number of our customers has doubled over the past decade, from 1 million to 2.1 million, representing around 10 million people, assuming an average of five members for each household. The next challenge is to expand the network within each district to reach all communities. And aside from increased generation, we need to also ensure better distribution nationwide, given the production deficit in more remote provinces. All these efforts run in accord with President's Nyusi Energia Para Todos plan, which envisages two main components: the Energy Sector Integrated Program, which relates to energy production, distribution and the necessary investments, and the National Electrification Strategy, geared at maximizing national electrification.

Will plans to increase internal consumption affect electricity exports?
Our strategy is to increase generation sufficiently to enable both meet domestic demand and target external buyers. Mozambique is already one of the few countries in the region producing an energy surplus, whereby the goal is attainable. For example, there are plans to build a power station in Tete that can satisfy local demand as well as exporting to Zambia and Zimbabwe, and there are similar projects for thermal, renewable and coal power stations across the country. Electricity is our third-largest export commodity, and we look forward to continued energy supply to neighboring countries.

What are EDM's objectives for 2020?
First, we intend to launch two large projects: a 400-kW line that will connect Chiumara to Alto-Molocue, in the Zambezia province, and a transport project to connect Sofala to Inhambane with a 110-kW line. A second goal is to implement procurement-related reforms, for which we have received financial support from Norway. Finally, we intend to connect 300,000 new customers to the grid within the year. The idea is to scale up year after year the number of new customers and achieve the goal of Energia Para Todos by 2030. In terms of performance, our turnover projection for 2020 is over USD600 million compared to less than USD500 million in 2019. On the flipside, a major challenge comes from losses of around 28%, and reducing losses, therefore, is a priority. I want a specific directive to deal with losses and efficiencies.