Quick Quotes: Green Energy Plan for Mozambique

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  • Because of this focus on power prices and large projects (and, typically, an avoidance of addressing environmental and social costs in pricing these projects), Mozambique is missing out on critical global developments in new clean sources of energy that could benefit its population, create new industry, jobs and capacities, and bring clean power to its own population.
  • Before 2003, few incentives had been given to household and commercial users to save electricity – and this waste has contributed to a sizable portion of South Africa’s demand. South Africa has the potential to quickly reduce its own electricity consumption by an amount equivalent to 3 to 5 times Mozambique’s entire consumption!
  • As long as Mozambique’s power planners focus on the huge consumer next door, they will never adequately meet the needs of their own country, which remains largely off-grid and unconnected.
  • Obviously, a power grid supplied by numerous and varied sources is less risky than one that relies primarily on a single source – such as mega-dam hydro.
  • Mozambique has a huge and virtually unexploited solar potential. Annual incident solar radiation, distributed evenly across the country, is about 1.49 million GWh – thousands of times more than the country’s current annual energy demand.
  • Power transmission in Mozambique is an especially critical issue for the country for two reasons. First, the large size of the country and its dispersed settlement patterns make dispatching power to the entire population extremely expensive. Secondly, HCB must first export power to Eskom, which in turn sells the power back to southern Mozambique at an increased rate. There are serious technical, financial and national security implications of this. In addition, long-distance dispatching of power wastes a considerable amount of power due to line losses.
  • Transmission systems can be hugely wasteful. Africa’s power grid loses twice as much electricity during transmission as do more modern systems in other parts of the world, and those losses can equal 2% of GDP annually.
  • More than 80% of Mozambique’s population is off-grid. This group has little access to conventional electricity or modern fuels – in fact, they pay much more per kilowatt-hour of energy for the little they get than those who have access in urban areas.
  • Use of biomass electricity has the potential to generate the most jobs because Mozambique’s small and medium sized enterprises can be involved in all stages of the supply and production chain. Bagasse wastes from the sugar industry, copra wastes from the coconut industry and the other sources could enable Mozambique to quickly build up a power industry based on clean, indigenous biomass fuels.
  • Large-scale concentrating solar projects have yet to be developed in southern Africa, despite high potential (in 2009 Morocco is completing a 20 MW CSP station integrated with a natural gas power station, and Eskom has introduced feed-in tariffs for CSP). Given the relatively high resources in the region, concentrating solar has the special potential to provide a stabilizing counterbalance to hydropower during droughts. Moreover, CSP technologies are rapidly developing energy storage capacities that enable them to become firm power providers. 5000 MW of CSP is set to come on-line in the US and Spain by 2013.
  • For growing economies like Mozambique’s, putting energy efficiency programs in place early makes economic sense. Implementing serious energy efficiency strategies means that, in the future, there will be more electricity to share with those currently without access to electricity – and it will free up money to invest in other pressing needs.