A consortium of companies from South Africa and overseas called Project DoXA plans to embark on a $4.2 billion (about K3 trillion) energy generation project to build a coal-fired power plant in Neno.
Once completed, the plant is set to have an installed capacity of 2 400 megawatts (MW) to provide electricity to almost 80 percent of the country’s households and companies.
This is on top of another 300MW coal-fired power plant at Kammwamba in Neno to be built with a loan from China.
The two plants will take advantage of a nearby railway line that is being used to transport coal from Moatize in Mozambique to the Indian Ocean port of Nacala in Mozambique through Malawi.
Currently, Malawi only generates about 251MW of power and a paltry 10 percent of the country’s population is connected to the power grid of Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (Escom).
Project DoXa on Friday signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Malawi Government at Capital Hill in Lilongwe, signifying commitment to undertake the project.
Ministry of Natural Resources, Energy and Mining Principal Secretary Kester Kaphaizi, who presided over the ceremony, said this is another milestone in the country’s power generation.
He said coupled with many projects in the sector, Malawi will have sufficient electricity for the household and industrial needs.
Kaphaizi thanked the consortium for choosing to invest in Malawi.
Speaking after signing the MoU, managing director for SA-based Mzansi Construction and Projects, Yamie Kruger Nyambalo, whose company is leading the consortium, described the taking off of the project as a landmark in the history of Malawi which has for years been dogged by acute power shortages.
He said the plant shall consist three boilers powering three turbines of 800MW each, giving an installed capacity of 2 400MW.
“The plant will utilise latest technology called FGD [flue gas esulphurisation], which allows coal to burn at 40 to 50 percent efficiency level and reduces carbon emission by almost 80 percent,” he said.
Nyambalo said the project challenges coal miners in the country to upgrade their capacities as the plant will require a steady supply of around seven to nine million tonnes of coal per year.
He said the project promoters want to spend almost half of the project money within the country so that local business people and professionals are empowered.
“The project cost is twice the budget of government, and shall be a source of forex to the country as well.
“In addition, the project shall employee at least 10 000 construction workers surrounding Neno during the construction phase and 800 unskilled workers during operation,” he said, adding it will create numerous business opportunities in the supply of coal.