Speaking when he addressed Parliament, the State President Dr Lazarus Chakwera said, his administration recognizes that industrial and socio-cconomic development of the country is dependent on access to modern, reliable and sufficient energy.
But the President expressed concern that the current available hydro generation capacity averages 200 Mega Watts but declines to as low as 170 Mega Watts as worrysome.
The decline takes place against the demand of of around 616 Mega Watts.
The President said Government is
exploring alternative sources of power which are cost effective and sustainable.
He said in a bid to increase access to electricity, Government is implementing Malawi Electricity Access Project (MEAP), whose target is to connect 400,000 households to the grid. Similarly, the Malawi Rural Electrification Progranne (MAREP) Phase 9 will connect at least 40,000
households. Additionally, through the finalization of the Malawi Mozambique interconnection, Malawi-Zambia interconnection and the Southern Africa Power Pool.
Malawi Government is looking at other sustainable means of generating electricity in the country.
Malawi since 1966, has been relying on Shire river to generate its power but that with the climate change has been a problem.
The country’s rainfall patterns has completely changed. Chakwera commissions solar energy power plant
Just in June this year, President Dr Lazarus Chakwera commissioned JCM solar power plant situated in Salima which is expected to add 60 megawatts of power to the
national grid. Commissioning the 75 million US dollars project plant at Kamzimbe in Salima, Dr Chakwera said ,Malawi needs reliable sources of energy for its national
development. He said reliable sources of energy are critical to the economic development of the country.
The solar photovoltaic plant which is currently the largest plant in the country has over 228,000 solar panels and will
sell power to ESCOM to help minimize energy challenges.
The project has also generated over 900 jobs with 832 of them being locals.
As that is not enough on alternative power Nations Development Programme (UNDP) on Monday handed over an off-grid power station to Malawi Government which connects more than 1,000 households in Traditional Authority (TA) Sunganinzeru in Mulanje.
Minister of Energy, Ibrahim Matola, received the grid on behalf of Malawi Government.
Matola described mini grids as useful assets in rural electrification saying government will focus on areas that are not connected to the national grid, either through Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (ESCOM) or the Malawi Rural Electrification Programme.
“With mini-grids which are off-grid, we can achieve the intended dream of reaching 1,000 megawatts production. For example, this mini grid can generate 6.5 megawatts which can cover the whole of Mulanje,” he said.
The Minister said the country has similar locations countrywide where hydro, geothermal or solar can be produced rather than depending only on Shire River.
UNDP Resident Representative, Shigeki Komatsubara described the project, which was driven by the community, as a success which he said can be replicated to enable more people access electricity.
He further said such investments have the capacity to invite more investment into the country.
Mulanje Energy Generation Agency, a UNDP US$500,000 funded project, currently produces about 200 kilowatts per hour. However, feasibility study showed that it has the capacity to produce 6 megawatts from Lichenya River whose source is Mulanje Mountain.