Mozambique’s Hydro Cahora Bassa (HCB) says it produced a record amount of electricity in 2015 reaching 16,978 gigawatt-hours. HCB said in a statement that this was the largest amount of electricity produced since commercial operations began at Cahora Bassa Dam on the Zambezi River in 1977.
The previous record was in 2009 when production reached 16,574 gigawatt-hours. Last year’s production was 2.44 percent higher than the 2009 figure.
Cahora Bassa Dam is Africa’s second largest civil engineering project.
HCB attributed the record production to massive investment made in recent years by the company under its engineering plan. These include the rehabilitation of the spillways, the rehabilitation of the converter substation at the dam town of Songo, and strengthening the foundations of the pylons that carry the transmission lines.
The company invested US$132 million and these projects had a major impact on electricity generation and transmission. As a result the performance of Cahora Bassa “has surpassed international standards for similar industries.”
According to the statement, increased sales of electricity was the logical result of greater production and total sales in 2015 were US$252 million, and the operating profit for the year was US$129 million.
“Maintaining this performance is fundamental for HCB to continue playing a primordial role in the growth and development of Mozambique”, the release concluded.
Other proposed projects include a 1,245-megawatt (MW) plant in the northern part of the Zambezi River and the 1,500-MW Mphanda Nkuwa plant further downstream.
HCB says power demand, currently at 1,600 MW, was rising 15 percent each year and that growth was over 20 percent in the north where most new mining projects were based.
The two hydro projects are dependent on the construction of a US$1.8 billion transmission line between the Zambezia province and the capital of Maputo. Currently power from existing dams is sent to South Africa and then transmitted back to Mozambique.