Construction works to add 19.5 megawatts (MW) to Tedzani Hydro Power Station started on Wednesday, raising hopes of increasing power supply in the next two years.
The Tedzani IV Hydro-electric Power Plant, which will be constructed by Japanese firm Mitsubishi Corporation to the tune of K38.3 billion, comes at a time Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (Escom) has been rationing power due to reduced generation capacity largely blamed on low water levels in Shire River, the main source of hydro power in Malawi.
Malawi is facing acute power supply challenges with generation capacity reduced to around 200MW from the installed capacity of 351MW.
Electricity Generation Company of Malawi (Egenco) chief executive officer William Liabunya said in an interview the construction of the new power plant will increase capacity of Tedzani Hydro Power Station to 111.5MW from the current 92MW.
He said: “We are delighted at the launch of this project which has taken about three years. Having it launched at a time the country is facing power problems gives us relief.
“This is, however, a fraction of several other projects that we are working on to improve power supply in the country. We have the 30 megawatts for diesel-powered gensets and we are starting another project where we are rehabilitating our existing plants to add 10 megawatts by the end of this year.”
Minister of Natural Resources, Energy and Mining Aggrey Masi said the project means the country has moved a step forward in improving electricity supply.
“We have shortage of power at the moment and we have not developed more. This is, therefore, a plus for us as it complements several other projects that we are currently undertaking in the energy sector,” he said.
Japanese Ambassador Kae Nagaisawa commended government for the efforts demonstrated to have the project started, calling for its speedy implementation.
“Power is the highest priority for the people of Malawi. We are proud that Japan is part of the efforts in addressing the energy challenges which Malawi is facing,” she said.
Mitsubishi Corporation, main contractor for the project, has assured that it will deliver the project within the planned 39 months with a workforce of 160 people, according to its general manager Yusuke Hosoda.
The project is largely financed by the Japanese government with Malawi contributing $4 million (about K3 billion).