MOZAMBIQUE – Mozambique is poised to emerge as one of Africa’s primary hydropower producers and spearhead the establishment of a green hydrogen sector.
According to a 60-page Energy Transition Strategy obtained by Bloomberg, the government aims to augment its hydropower capacity by 14,000 MW, with the majority slated for development between 2030 and 2040.
Additionally, the government plans to initiate a hydrogen program later this year, as outlined in the document, which has yet to be publicly released.
This proposal serves as a blueprint for leveraging the country’s abundant green energy potential to stimulate economic growth and industrialize what remains, even fifty years after gaining independence from Portugal, a predominantly impoverished agrarian economy.
“Mozambique possesses extensive energy resources,” asserted the government, estimating the transition’s cost at US$80 billion by 2050.
“Strategically harnessing these resources can expedite the transition toward a middle-income industrialized economy.”
While ambitious, the energy transition plan bears resemblance to those announced by South Africa, Senegal, Indonesia, and Vietnam, collectively attracting pledges of US$47 billion in funding from some of the world’s wealthiest nations.
Central to Mozambique’s strategy is the Zambezi River, Africa’s fourth-longest river. The country currently operates the 2,075 MW Cahora Bassa power plant on the river, with a consortium led by TotalEnergies and Japan’s Sumitomo Corp. constructing the US$5 billion Mphanda Nkuwa dam with a capacity of 1,500 MW.
Over the next two decades, Mozambique aims to augment its hydropower capacity by 9,000 MW, with further expansion in the subsequent decade by attracting investments in similar plants, following the Mphanda Nkuwa model.
Emphasizing the necessity of private investment due to its inability to self-finance these programs, the government aims to establish industrial parks to utilize clean energy.
The anticipated revenue from natural gas projects in the country’s north is expected to fuel economic transformation, although construction has been hampered by an Islamist militant insurgency.
This ambitious expansion positions Mozambique to rival Ethiopia and the Democratic Republic of Congo in hydroelectric power provision.
Ethiopia has developed a colossal hydropower plant on the Blue Nile, while Congo has proposed the construction of Grand Inga, potentially the world’s largest hydro project.
One preliminary step is to retain the 1,150 MW currently sold to South Africa from Cahora Bassa when the contract expires in 2030.
Furthermore, Mozambique intends to extend its electricity grid to enable the transmission of hydropower from Cahora Bassa to the capital, Maputo, and to integrate solar and wind power plants. Initial costs for grid expansion are estimated at US$2.54 billion.
The overarching objective is to install 7,500 MW of solar power and up to 2,500 MW from wind sources.
Decarbonization initiatives include discouraging the use of firewood and charcoal for cooking by enhancing grid connectivity and facilitating access to liquefied natural gas.
The transition to cleaner alternatives for public transportation, shifting away from diesel, is also on the agenda.
By articulating its plans, Mozambique joins several African nations in endeavoring to attract investment in renewable energy.
South Africa and Uganda are among those nations that have devised programs to shift their energy industries away from fossil fuels.