Mphanda Nkuwa Hydropower Project in Mozambique

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A 1,500 MW Mphanda Nkuwa hydroelectric dam is set to be built by Électricité de France (EDF) led consortium. The consortium is made up of the French groups TotalEnergies and Électricité de France (EDF). Other stakeholders in the consortium include the Japanese companies Sumitomo Corporation and Kansai Electric Power.

The objectives of this consortium are the result of an evaluation of technical, economic and financial proposals validated by the committee.  The committee comprises Electricidade de Moçambique (EDM), Hidroeléctrica de Cahora Bassa (HCB), and the Ministry of Economy and Finance.

The committee is spearheaded by the Ministry of Land and Environment, the Ministry of Labour, Employment and Social Security, and the Bank of Mozambique.

The EDF-led consortium was tasked by Mozambican authorities to execute the project which will require an investment of 4.5 billion dollars.

Although contested for its environmental and social impact, the project is supported by the African Development Bank (AfDB). Additionally, the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the private sector financing arm of the World Bank Group will support the project.

Maputo hopes to start work in 2024.

Mphanda Nkuwa hydropower project overview

Mphanda Nkuwa Hydropower Project is a proposed 1,500 megawatts run-of-the-river hydroelectric facility set for development on the Zambezi River, in the Tete province of Mozambique.

The project scope includes the construction of a dam, powerhouse, inlet, and outlet tunnel infrastructure, installation of turbines, and laying of transmission lines. The dam will be located approximately 60 kilometres downstream of the existing Cahora Bassa Dam near the city of Tete with its left bank on the Chiuta district side and the right bank on the Changara district side.

Also Read: Kafue Gorge Lower Hydropower Station project timeline and all you need to know

It will be a 700m-long and 86m-high concrete gravity dam with 13 floodgates. With a crest elevation of 211m, the dam will create a 100km² reservoir that will extend more than 60km on the Zambezi River as well as approximately 18km on the Luia River reaching the districts of Cahorra Bassa and Maravia.

Government seeks consultants for new Mphanda Nkuwa dam project | Club of Mozambique

The project’s powerhouse will be equipped with four Francis turbine units with the capacity to generate 365MW each. Upon completion, the power plant will utilize the water flow released by the Cahora Bassa hydropower plant to rotate the four turbines that will subsequently generate a total of 1,500MW or the equivalent of approximately 8,600GWh of electricity per year.

The electricity is planned to be evacuated through a 650km-long, 400kV high-voltage alternating current (HVAC) transmission line, which will be constructed as part of the project, connecting the Cataxa substation at Marara, for domestic use.

Owing to power trading arrangements coordinated by the Southern African Power Pool (SAPP), the surplus electricity generated by the Mphanda Nkuwa Hydropower plant will be exported to the neighbouring countries through a 1,300km-long 550kV high-voltage direct current (HVDC) line that will be constructed to connect the Maputo substation in Mozambique with the South Africa Grid.

The project team

The US$ 4.4bn Mphanda Nkuwa Hydropower Project is developed by a special purpose vehicle comprising of the state-owned Electricidade de Mocambique (EDM), the operator of the 2,075MW Cahora Bassa hydropower plant Hidroeléctrica de Cahora Bassa (HCB), and a strategic partner yet to be selected on a limited recourse project finance basis.

The project was earlier planned to be developed and operated by Mphanda Nkuwa Hydroelectric Facility (HMNK), a consortium of Camargo Corrêa, Insitec Pty Ltd, and EDM.

A consortium of four companies, including the international financial advisory services company for the infrastructure sector Synergy Consulting, the Australian engineering company Worley Parsons, and law firms Baker Mckenzie and HRA Advogados, was selected to provide consulting advisory services for the project.

COBA Group, IMPACTO Group, and ERM are responsible for the feasibility and environmental study of the hydroelectric power project.

Reported earlier 

2010

In December, the government signed a 35-year concession agreement for the project with the HMNK consortium.

Construction works were scheduled to start in 2011 and be completed in 2015, but the plan did not advance due to a lack of finance as well as the delay in securing a power-purchase agreement with South Africa.

2017

In September, the International Development Association (IDA), a member of the World Bank Group that offers concessional loans and grants to the world’s poorest developing countries, approved a loan to develop the project.

2018

In August, the government revoked the concession to the Camargo CorrĂŞa and Insitec-led consortium and announced the involvement of HCB in the development of the Mphanda Nkuwa project.

2019

In February, the government of the South African county created a new entity dubbed Mphanda Nkuwa Hydroelectric Project Implementation Office (GMNK) to coordinate the project development.

March 2019

Mozambique seeks consultant for US $4.2bn hydroelectric scheme

Mozambique seeks consultant for US $4.2bn hydroelectric scheme

The government of Mozambique has launched an international public tender for a consultant to help it develop a US $4.2bn Mphanda Nkuwa Hydroelectric Project on the Zambesi River.

Augusto de Sousa, the Deputy Minister of Energy and Mineral Resources announced the reports and said that the ministry is looking for a company to help prepare the legal and financial structuring of the Mphanda Nkuwa dam, as well as the associated transmission system.

“The selection of consultants will be made through a competitive international contracting process, with competing companies having proven experience in carrying out similar work with the same complexity,” said Augusto.

Also Read: Batoka Gorge Hydroelectric power project in Zambia to begin this year

Mphanda Nkuwa Hydroelectric Project

Construction of the power project which will be located about 60km downstream from the Cahora Bassa Dam, is estimated to take 10 years. The project was approved in 2007 but plans stalled due to controversial issues regarding the relocation of families that will be affected by the project and its effect on Zambesi’s downstream irrigation systems. It was however revived by President Filipe Nyusi in August last year.

The selected company would work with the Mphanda Nkuwa Hydroelectric Project Implementation Office, created last February to oversee the scheme. The dam will be 103m tall and is expected to have a power capacity of 1.5 GW.

This according to the deputy minister will increase the country’s installed capacity from 1GW to 8GW over the next 25 years, and enable universal access to mains electricity. The ministry is also currently looking to hire a director for this agency.

Sep 2021

The Mozambican authorities appointed a consortium of four companies to provide legal, financial, and engineering consulting and advisory services to GMNK for the Mphanda Nkuwa project.

Oct 2019

Construction of the 1,500MW Mphanda Nkuwa hydroelectric dam in Mozambique commences

Dam

Construction works on Mphanda Nkuwa hydroelectric dam located on the Zambezi River in Mozambique have officially kicked off. The Deputy Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy, Augusto Fernando, said that the works are to reinforce the amount of electricity being transported along the Tete-Maputo line.

The deputy minister further disclosed that the Mphanda Nkuwa Hydroelectric Project Implementation Office now has a director and consultant who will review the whole project, designed in 2008 by several consortia. Fernando also said that the office will focus its activity on the feasibility analysis of the project based on environmental and hydrological impact studies, among other factors, and it is expected to be able to start and finish the construction of this project within an estimated period of five years.

President Filipe Nyusi had in August 2018 said that the Mpanda Nkuwa hydroelectric facility is a “structural undertaking” and announced the end of the concession to the consortium led by Mozambican group Insitec and Brazilian construction company Camargo Corrêa, with 40% each, along with state-owned Electricidade de Moçambique (EdM).

Nyusi also said that EdM and the Cahora Bassa Hydroelectric Facility have the capacity and technical and financial skills to structure the project, which will avoid obstruction and delay, on the one hand, and will contribute to reducing its cost because it does not involve intermediaries, on the other.

July 2021

Mozambique to sell a majority stake in Mphanda Nkuwa hydropower project

The government of Mozambique plans to sell a majority stake in the proposed Mphanda Nkuwa hydropower project to potential investors in a bid to fast track or rather reach financial close by 2024 on the US$ 4.4 billion projects.

This was disclosed by Carlos Yum, the director in charge of the project. He said that the government of the Southern African country will issue a request for proposals before the end of this year and that it will take up to four months to select the winner and another six weeks to negotiate the joint development agreement.

The successful investor(s) will implement the project in partnership with Electricidade de Moçambique (EDM), a state-owned Energy Company that deals with the generation, transmission, distribution, and sale of electricity, and Hidroelectrica de Cahora Bassa (HCB), the largest Independent Power Producer (IPP) in Southern Africa, providing hydroelectric power to Mozambique and the Southern African Development Community (SADC).

Mozambique to select a partner for the Mphanda Nkuwa Hydroelectric project

The government of Mozambique is set to launch the selection process for a new partner for the Mphanda Nkuwa Hydroelectric project.

Carlos Yum, the director in charge of the project made the announcement and said the move aims to fast-track the raising of the necessary funding for the project. Maputo will go through a call for expressions of interest and the bidding process is expected to take more than six months.

Aug 2021

Mphanda Nkuwa Hydroelectric project in Mozambique to generate power in 2030

Mphanda Nkuwa Hydroelectric project in Mozambique will start generating power in 2030. This is according to the official government spokesperson, Deputy Justice Minister Filimao Suaze.

“I am confident that this dam will be built by 2025 and in 2030 will see the effective take-off of this project,” said Minister Filimao Suaze.

The hydroelectric plant project will be located 61 km southeast of the Cahora Bassa dam. The project aims to increase the amount of electricity transmitted through the Teemaputo line. Plans to develop the project were approved in 2007, however controversial issues regarding the relocation of families that will be affected by the project and its effect on Zambesi’s downstream irrigation systems stalled the implementation.

December 2021

Mphanda Nkuwa tender launched – Noticias - Mozambique

Mozambique’s Ministry of Mineral Resources and Energy (MIREME), represented by GMNK, invited developers to submit requests for qualification (RFQ) documents to co-develop the project.

Under the proposed structure, the partner was expected to be the majority shareholder developing the project, with government entities EDM and HCB owning the remaining stakes.

The project company would sign an off-take agreement under a long-term power purchase agreement (PPA) with EDM, along with direct and indirect off-take agreements with other potential off-takers in the region.

Jun 2022

Mphanda Nkuwa Hydropower Project to Receive Support from IFC

The International Finance Corporation (IFC) has signed a collaboration agreement with the Mphanda Nkuwa Hydroelectric Project Implementation Office (GMNK) to develop the 1 500 MW hydropower project and associated transmission facilities in Mozambique and other Southern African countries to increase access to clean energy.

The IFC will collaborate with the government and GMNK to organize this key project, which will include a study of technical design, environmental protection, and commercial and financial structuring. The purpose is to assist in mobilizing competitive private investment to bring the project online and promote the country’s sustainable energy transition.

According to Carlos Katsuya, IFC senior country manager for Mozambique, clean and sustainable energy is a crucial economic and social growth engine. Katsuya further expressed his excitement to use IFC’s experience constructing and financing big hydropower projects in Africa and throughout the world to increase Mozambique’s supply of cheap renewable energy and fulfil the country’s rising power demand.

Mphanda Nkuwa, according to GMNK director Carlos Yum, is prepared to help the Mozambican government’s aim of universal access to electricity by 2030, encourage industrialization, and increase growth through dependable transmission infrastructure and competitive power.

Oct 2022

Pre-selection of companies and consortia to develop the Mphanda Nkuwa hydroelectric project announced

The pre-selection of seven companies and consortia for finance and construction of the Mphanda Nkuwa hydroelectric project was recently revealed.

The announcement was recently made by Carlos Yum, the director of the Mphanda Nkuwa Construction and Development Office. However, the details of the pre-selected companies as well as their nationalities were not disclosed by the director.

The Mphanda Nkuwa hydroelectric project site is only expected to be visited soon by two different companies and five huge consortia, according to sources.

The project had drawn interest from at least eight consortia and companies. This is according to a source close to the government. Among them are the massive Electricité de France (EDF), Longyuan Power Overseas Investment and Power, and China Resources. Independent Power Producer (IPP) Scatec from Norway, Sumitomo Corporation and Kansai Electric Power from Japan, WeBuild Group from Italy, and ETC Holdings Mauritius are the other additional companies.

The shortlisted companies and consortiums won’t develop technical and financial proposals for the construction of the Mphanda Nkuwa hydroelectric project until after the site visit.