Mozambique currently has a low electrification rate with only 40% of its population having access to electricity. 36% of the population has access from the grid and 4% via off-grid projects. Mozambique wants to accelerate its access to electricity projects to meet its targets of universal access to electricity by 2030. This will be backed by at least 2,300 MW of new installed capacity by 2030 and about 5 million new connections, both on grid and off grid, according to the Country Priority Plan And Diagnostic Of The Electricity Sector Report for Mozambique by the AfDB’s Power, Energy, Climate Change & Green Growth (PEVP) Complex. Mozambique is already making some progress on this front with 348,000 new connections added across the country in 2022 and a further 320,000 planned for 2023. Mozambique also wants to increase the contribution of solar and wind in the country.
Mozambique currently has an electricity generation capacity surplus. It has an installed capacity of just over 3,000 MW and an average demand of just over 2,000 MW, giving a surplus of close to 1,000 MW. Electricidade de Moçambique (EDM) is already a key exporter to members of the Southern African Power Pool. EDM chairman Marcelino Gildo Alberto says that electricity exports to its neighbors and the region already make up 22% of EDM’s annual revenues. With its southern African neighbours, Zambia, Zimbabwe, and South Africa currently experiencing their worst ever period of electricity rationing, Mozambique wants to step up exports to the region and further increase the contribution of exports to its revenues.
Mozambique’s neighbors are struggling with generation shortfalls for several reasons. Zambia has had to implement a 12-hour electricity load-shedding program, which has recently been reduced to 8 hours per day. Zimbabweans have been experiencing as much as 20 hours of load-shedding per day, and although the situation has improved slightly, citizens still experience long power cuts most days of the week. Zimbabwe has a generation shortfall of close to 1,000 MW. Zimbabwe and Zambia share the Kariba dam, where water levels are currently at record lows, forcing the two power companies to curtail generation. South Africa has been implementing various stages of load-shedding over the past few months with as much as up to 24,000 MW of its ~50,000 MW coal fleet out of action at times due to a combination of frequent breakdowns and planned maintenance. So, as you can see, the power situation in the region is quite bad. Although the three southern African nations’ generation shortfall is quite huge and needs urgent intervention of a magnitude way higher than what Mozambique has as surplus, and also what the interconnection network can handle at present, it’s good that Mozambique will be stepping up exports.
Southern Africa is one of the regions on the African continent that has a regional power pool that is playing a key role in the electricity sector. As the penetration of variable renewables such as solar and wind increases, the power pool could play a critical role in enabling excess from these variable renewables to be exported to another part of the pool when needed. Investments in local, nation and regional transmission and distribution infrastructure in member states should be a key priority to unlock the full potential of this power pool.
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