Unscheduled outages at the Cahora Bassa hydro power plant on the Zambezi river in Mozambique has resulted in load shedding for Eskom in South Africa.

Eskom said that poor weather has contributed to the outages of a number of units at Cahora Bassa resulting in a loss of electricity imports. It added that Eskom engineers were working with Cahora Bassa plant personnel to resolve the unexpected problem.

‘Initial investigations at Cahora Bassa indicate that there is a problem of supply on the Mozambique side due to poor weather conditions,’ it said in a statement.

While introducing short term load shedding, Eskom has also called on greater use of its gas-fired turbines and buying back power from industrial customers to help partly offset the shortfall in supply.

The 2075MW Cahora Bassa facility is in the midst of ownership transfer to Mozambique, good progress on which has been noted by the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The scheme was built in 1969, was completed in 1976 and then was out of action much of the 1980s due to the civil war in Mozambique.

In the mid-1990s efforts began to recover the plant, and Portugal is transferring majority ownership to Mozambique. A few years ago alstom refurbished the plant’s five units, and each now has an installed capacity of 415MW.

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