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Cahora Bassa moves ahead with large scale 400 MW solar plant

Cahora Bassa Hydroelectric Plant (HCB) and the International Financial Society (IFC – World Bank Group) will install a large-scale photovoltaic plant with a capacity of up to 400 MW in the province of Tete, Mozambique.

The two institutions announced this Tuesday that they have signed a cooperation agreement for the pre-feasibility study to develop the project, saying that it “will contribute to the supply of renewable energy” in Mozambique, and increase the production capacity of the HCB complex to an estimated 4,000 MW.

This photovoltaic plant will be installed in Matambo, Changara district, Tete province, in the centre of the country. The first phase of the project will focus on defining the main characteristics of the plant, including the projected capacity and conceptual design, and in the assessment of environmental and social criteria, the two institutions added in a statement.

“This agreement represents the implementation of HCB’s strategy of diversifying and expanding its generation capacity, in addition to minimizing the impact of reduced production during the rehabilitation and modernization of HCB’s South Central,” explained Tomás Matola, president of the board of directors of the Mozambican hydroelectric plant.

“Additionally, we plan to increase the generation capacity of HCB to around 4,000 MW, by 2032. This target comes from the current installed capacity, the future Central Norte, the photovoltaic plant and other renewable energy projects that are in the feasibility study phase.”

Following the signing of this agreement, IFC’s interim national director in Mozambique, Kátia Daude, emphasized that “increased access to reliable and affordable energy is fundamental to the country’s economic growth and continued development.”

“Access to energy drives inclusive growth, creates jobs and supports economic activity. IFC’s partnership with HCB will help Mozambique increase its energy supply and further position the country as a regional energy supplier,” she commented.

According to HCB, the projected photovoltaic solar plant “will contribute to the commitment made by the Government of Mozambique, at the COP26 climate conference in 2021, to generate 62% of the country’s energy from renewable sources by 2030”.

It adds that through the export of energy, HCB “will contribute to meeting the growing demand for electricity in Mozambique and in some countries in the southern African region”, while recognizing that “despite Mozambique’s significant energy resources, the electric power industry of the country faces challenges including inadequate investment, low population density and limited accessibility”.

According to HCB, access to electricity in Mozambique still stands at less than 40%.

Cahora Bassa Hydroelectric is the largest independent energy producer in Mozambique and one of the largest producers in the southern region of Africa, with an installed capacity of 2,075 MW, distributed to three main customers, Eletricidade de Moçambique (EDM), Eskom (South Africa) and ZESA (Zimbabwe) and the regional market.




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