The Electricity Generation Company (Egenco) has completed the expansion of Tedzani Electricity Hydropower Station project, increasing its national power generation capacity to 442 megawatts (MW).
The $56 million (about K44.3 billion) Tedzani IV project, co-funded by Japanese International Cooperation Agency (Jica) grant with $52 million and Egenco with $4.8 million, was commissioned on Wednesday and is generating 19.1MW. It has beaten its deadline as it started on June 11 2018 and was expected to be completed on September 23 2021.
In an interview yesterday, Egenco spokesperson Moses Gwaza said the expansion of the Tedzani Electricity Hydropower Station will improve power generation at the company.
He said, Egenco is currently generating about 300MW because it produces power based on demand at a particular time.
Said Gwaza: “You should remember that Escom is also buying power from other sources, so if Egenco is generating 300MW, it does not mean that is the only power on the national grid. But when there is a need to generate more, we can generate up to 442MW.”
He added that Egenco supplies power only to Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (Escom).
In a separate interview, Escom public relations manager Innocent Chitosi also said the expansion of Tedzani Electricity Hydropower Station will increase capacity to supply electricity to Malawians.
He, however, said the challenge is not only on generation capacity, but also the water to drive machines.
Said Chitosi: “The country has an installed capacity of about 398MW in hydro-generation, but we can only realise 270MW from the same. This is because water flow in Shire River is controlled for good reasons.
“So, while this is a good development, we may at times have the required machines but the water to drive those machines may be another challenge. This is why supply is complemented by diesel-powered generators run by Egenco and Aggreko.”
He said Escom receives an average maximum electricity demand of 340MW but could not indicate how much power it is supplying.
Tedzani Hydro Power Station is on the Shire River, 7 kilometres downstream of Nkula Hydro Power stations. It comprises Tedzani I, Tedzani II, Tedzani III and now Tedzani IV hydro power stations.
Tedzani I was commissioned in 1972, Tedzani II in 1976 and Tedzani III in 1995, and the three had a total generation capacity of 102MW. With the recently commissioned Tedzani IV, the generation capacity of Tedzani power stations has increased to 120MW.
Besides Tedzani Power Station, Egenco also operates Nkula A and B hydro power stations with a total generation capacity of 122MW, Kapichira I and II with a total generation capacity of 129.6MW, but currently generates 32.4MW each and Wovwe Power Station which generates 4.5MW.
The company also operates thermal and solar power plants. Overall, Egenco has a total installed generation capacity of 441.95MW, with 390.55MW from hydro power plants and 51.4MW from thermal power plants.
In January this year, the Tonse Alliance administration renewed the controversial generator-powered electricity deal with Aggreko Power Solutions for another two years, but stressed its intention to get rid of the generators “as soon as possible” when alternative electricity sources are found