An evaluation of wind energy potential for power generation in Mozambique.
Wind energy is a continuous, clean source of energy that can be harnessed for electricity generation or water pumping. The geographic location of Mozambique, and the long coastline renders the country a good wind energy potential that could potentially be exploited for water pumping or electrical power systems that have social and economic benefits and thereby contribute to a reduction in unsustainable practices of wood biomass burning which is the main source of energy in rural villages and high density suburbs of the main cities of the country. This study is focused on evaluating the potential of harnessing wind energy for electrical power generation in Mozambique using the Wind Atlas Analysis and Application Programme (WAsP) model. The study characterises wind speed patterns and wind frequency distributions at selected meteorological stations based on hourly observations, and models the available wind energy in coastal and interior areas. Meteorological parameters such as wind speed data from nearby meteorological stations and wind turbine characteristics were used as inputs into the model. To effectively harness wind energy, mean annual wind speeds should at least be 3 ms-1. For this reason only sites satisfying this criterion were selected. The spatial selection criteria considered a fair distribution of candidate sites such that coastal areas of the southern, northern and the interior Niassa and Nampula provinces were covered. The results of the WAsP model simulations, indicate that there is sufficient wind energy resource in both interior and coastal areas, which varies with height a.g.l., and that can be exploited for pumping water and generating electricity in small or medium electrical power systems, particularly the coastal areas of Ponta de Ouro, Mavelane, and Tofinho where the mean annual wind speed is above 5.0 ms-1 at the 10 m level and about 8.0 ms-1 at the highest levels (50 - 60 m a.g.l.) and interior area of Lichinga (mean annual wind speed of about 6 ms-1 at the same highest levels). The lowest wind energy potential (mean annual wind speed of about 4.0 ms-1) is found in the Nampula area.