The support for the renovation and upgrade of the hydroelectric power plants Mavuzi and Chicamba are important parts of the Swedish collaboration strategy with Mozambique with the goal of increasing the production of electricity from renewable energy sources.
Renovated hydroelectric power plants provide more renewable energy
After two and a half year’s renovation work, the hydroelectric power plants Mavuzi and Chicamba were brought into full operation at the beginning of 2017. The project entails an extension of the lifetime of the power plants by 30 years and at the same time an upgrade from 60 MW to 90 MW. Swedish development assistance has been crucial to the project.
The inauguration of the hydroelectric power plants was held in March 2017 by Mozambique’s President Filipa Jacinto Nyusi.
“The renovation and upgrade of the hydroelectric power plants mean that more than 2.5 million people can now have continued and expanded access to reliable electricity. It provides more opportunities for households, public institutions and companies to contribute to a sustainable development and job creation,” says Mikael Elofsson, Charge d’affaires at the Swedish Embassy in Mozambique.
The effort builds on long-term Swedish support for the energy sector.
The hydroelectric power plants were built in the 1950s and 1960s and were long the most important source of electricity in Mozambique, but had become severely worn due to civil war and deficient maintenance. Through development loans, Sweden has contributed financial support that made it possible for the government electricity company Electricidade de Moçambique to get loans from the French and German development banks (Afd and kfW).
The support of the energy sector is an important part of Sweden’s cooperation strategy with Mozambique and the extended lifespan of the hydroelectric power plants contributes directly to one of the goals of the strategy – improved environment, limited climate impact and stronger resilience to climate impact, climate changes and natural disasters.
Hydro power is a stable and renewable source of energy
Electricidade de Moçambique is facing crucial choices of what kind of energy they will develop. Thanks to Sweden’s support for investments and advocacy work, the possibilities are increasing of the population in Mozambique receiving their electricity from renewable energy sources. The hope is that Mozambique will not choose to use its large reserves of fossil fuels – mainly coal – to thereby reduce the emissions of carbon dioxide. The hydroelectric power plants may also enable greater expansion of solar energy since they balance the supply of electricity in the power grid and serve as a stable energy source when the sun is not shining.
Contributing to avoiding floods
Hydroelectric power plants also make it possible to regulate water flows to avoid floods and the electricity also contributes to better communication and warning systems in crises. The support therefore contributes to adapting society to the climate changes and limiting their effects. Mozambique is the third most vulnerable country in Africa to extreme weather conditions, such as drought, floods and cyclones, which makes it harder for people who live in poverty to make a living and affects important financial sectors, such as agriculture, fishing, forestry, tourism and energy.
Access to electricity also makes it possible for vulnerable societies to improve their living conditions in several different ways. A reliable supply of electricity makes it possible, for example, for hospitals to cool vaccines and provide patients medical care even during the dark hours of the day. It also means that children can do their homework in the evenings and that people in the countryside can charge mobile phones and get important information by TV, radio and the Internet. The electricity is also necessary for many small business owners and contributes to creating jobs.