Travel restrictions induced by the Covid-19 pandemic have delayed progress in the $150 million (K117 billion) 70 megawatts (MW) independent power producer (IPP) projects in Mzimba and Mangochi.
The two projects—Droege Mzimba Wind Farm Limited (50MW) and Droege Monkey Bay Solar Farm Limited (20MW)—whose power purchase agreement was signed in May 2019, were set to roll out in the first and second quarters of 2021, respectively.
The project time-frames are two years and three months for Droege Mzimba Wind Farm Limited and 18 months for Droege Monkey Bay Solar Plant Limited.
In an e-mail response, Droege Energy GmbH chief executive officer Gustav Droege said both projects are at advanced stages, but Covid-19 has delayed their implementation.
“One of the major hindrances we have faced has been travel restrictions for our experts to carry out certain development works in Malawi,” he said.
Droege said the other hurdle has been the delay in project documentation with Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (Escom) due to the transition of the Single Buyer Licence to Power Market Limited (PML), which was concluded on the December 14 2020.
Last week, Minister of Energy Newton Kambala backed the operationalisation of PML, saying it needed to start its operations.
He said the new company was established in view of the reforms that the country undertook with support from the Millennium Challenge Corporation energy compact to revive the country’s energy sector.
Malawi Energy Regulatory Authority figures show that the country’s electricity penetration is at about 11.5 percent.