The World Bank has invested $88 million in Mozambique’s Cahora Bassa Hydroelectric (HCB) dam that will transport power to Malawi. The money will be used to fund the construction of transmission lines to carry power, and is to be assembled as part of a Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) energy cooperation agreement.
HCB has exhausted the maximum capacity of 2,075 MW of power it could produce from its generators on the southern bank of the Cahora Bassa River. The dam, with construction set to begin, will have an average capacity of 300 MW. After its commissioning, the HCB will help shore up Mozambique’s position as one of the primary energy exporters for the region.
Luis Amado, electrification division head of Mozambique’s EDM power utility told Noticias that $43 million of the World Bank funding is to be used for projects in Mozambique and the remaining $45 million in Malawi.
“Work in Mozambique includes enlargement of the Matambo substation (in Tete province) and building of transmission lines to the Malawian frontier, from where Malawi’s utility will construct a line to the Phombeya region, site of a planned new substation being built as part of the same project,” Amado told the country’s daily newspaper Noticias.
Mozambique is aggressively investing in its power infrastructure to solve the regional power crunch, which has caused many mega-projects to grind to a halt.
The government has approved the construction of an $800 million power station in the northern province of Tete next year to boost regional power supplies. In August, the government announced that Brazilian-based Camargo Correia had signed an agreement of understanding to invest $3.2 billion in a new dam aimed at providing energy to southern Africa.
HCB, which suffered decades of neglect and lack of investment, now provides 60% of its power to South Africa’s state utility Eskom and 35% to the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA).
Mozambique consumes the rest of the power. Only 15% of the country’s 20 million people have access to electricity.