The Mozambican government has ruled out the possibility of abandoning the mining of coal as part of the energy transition advocated by the United Nations in order to meet the target for reducing carbon emissions by 2030.
The government justifies this position on the grounds that coal remains a major Mozambican export, and thus makes a crucial contribution to the balance of payments and as a source of foreign currency. The government also believes that the energy transition should always take account of the real conditions in the country.
The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Mineral Resources and Energy, Teodoro Vales, argued this position on Thursday during a seminar on “the challenges and opportunities for promoting an inclusive energy transition in Mozambique”, organized by the Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD).
“A lot is said about abandoning coal”, said Vales. “But right now coal is the major contributor to the balance of payments, and in second place we have the heavy mineral sands. So we cannot abandon these sources from one day to the next, because the necessary conditions must be in place for us to do this”.
Vales guaranteed that, in the context of energy transition, mitigation actions are under way, aimed at developing non-polluting systems of energy generation. He said that among these systems there stand out renewable energies, including hydro-electric power stations, but also less polluting fossil fuels, such as natural gas.
The current government, he noted, has set the ambitious target of producing an extra 600 megawatts of power by 2024, of which 400 MW will be generated by gas-fired power stations, and 200 MW will come from solar, wind and hydro-electric power.
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“For example, in the area of solar power, we have invested in a 40 MW solar station in Mocuba, 40 MW in Metoro and 30 MW in Dondo”, he said. “These are just the solar stations, but there are also hydro-electric stations”.
For its part, the Petroleum and Gas Chamber of Mozambique, represented by Florival Mucave, said that the transition from fossil fuels to renewable energies is a global imperative.
The Chamber argues that there should be a wide-ranging discussion in Mozambique on the theme of energy transition, bringing together the government, private business and civil society, in order to produce a harmonised vision to take to the next climate summit, to be held in Egypt later this year.