As preparations for the Mphanda Nkuwa hydropower project move forward, Mozambique continues to position itself as a regional green transition powerhouse.
Once implemented, the 1.5 GW hydropower plant will supply 9,000 GWh of clean electricity to the Southern Africa Power Pool thereby displacing an estimated 8 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions per year. With an estimated hydroelectric potential of 12.5 GW, Mozambique’s hydropower potential is the largest in Southern Africa and among the highest on the African continent. More than 80% of this potential is located in the Zambezi Valley, which is already home to the Cahora Bassa dam (2,075 MW), one of the largest hydroelectric dams in Africa.
The Mphanda Nkuwa hydropower project will be a run-of-the-river plant that will be constructed 60 km downstream of the Cahorra Bassa dam. As such, Mphanda Nkuwa’s reservoir size can be significantly (8 times) smaller when compared to other hydropower plants of the same size.
The implementation of the Mphanda Nkuwa hydropower project will critically contribute to the green transition both domestically and regionally. Not only will the project provide a flexible and reliable source of baseload power, which is key for integrating more variable and intermittent renewables such as wind and solar, but it can also play an essential role in the transition towards green industrialization and electric mobility in the medium and long term.
The development of the Mphanda Nkuwa project is led by the Mozambican Government, with support from the African Development Bank and the International Finance Corporation. Commissioning is foreseen in 2030. The government is currently in the process of selecting a strategic partner for the implementation.
Earlier this week the Mphanda Nkuwa implementation office announced two proposals for the strategic partner to team up with EDM and Cahora Bassa to develop the project.