2.1 million Mozambicans are now using electricity generated from renewable energy sources

Mozambique’s Energy Minister, Salvador Namburete, announced that at least 2.1 million Mozambicans are now using electricity generated from renewable energy sources across the country.

These include solar energy, wind power, small and medium-size dams and biomass (from sugar cane bagasse and Jatropha seedcake) under the country’s strategy for renewable energy recently approved by the Mozambican Government.

"Currently, 30 percent of Mozambicans have access to electricity, being 20 percent from the expansion of the national grid and the remaining 10 percent – about 2.1 million Mozambicans -, through renewable energy sources, including solar thermal panels, wind turbines, small and medium-size dams and biomass, which generate electricity with the same quality as that of the Cahora Bassa dam," said the Minister.

Namburete was speaking on the sidelines of VII Coordinating Council of the Ministry, started on Wednesday in the district of Namaacha, in the Maputo province. Solar power is the most widely across the country, to meet the needs of rural populations particularly in remote areas.

Mozambique has also micro hydropower dams, with a capacity to generate up to 15 megawatts of electricity, which are being used to supply power to small communities.

Previous studies show that there are 60 to 100 regions with a huge potential for the construction of micro hydropower dams in Mozambique, but capacity may have changed over time, and new studies are required to re-evaluate their current potential.

In terms of wind power, mapping is under way to determine the most adequate regions for the installation of wind turbines. Meanwhile, said the Minister, wind power is already being exploited in the southern province of Inhambane.

As for biomass energy, Namburete pointed out that people living in the vicinity of sugar mills, such as Xinavane Sugar Mill, in the southern province of Maputo and Marromeu Sugar Mill in the central province of Sofala, are already using electricity generated from sugar cane bagasse.

Thefore, said the Minister, this proves that Mozambique is in a good position to proceed with electrification of the country using viable and cheaper technologies, without having to build large dams, long transmission lines and large power transformers.

The minister stressed, however, "we must recognize that large dams are crucial to produce enough energy to supply mega-projects such as the aluminium smelter ‘Mozal’ and other industries.

But the small and micro-power stations are better placed to solve the problems of the population through local systems capable of providing clean and quality energy. "

Meanwhile, the government has set a target to connect the country’s 128 districts to the national grid by the end of 2014. Only 26 districts are yet to be connected.