Ministry of Natural Resources, Energy and Mining has said it is negotiating with 22 investors in solar power generation to provide quick solutions to the current power deficit the country is experiencing.
Department of Energy deputy director Joseph Kalowekamo, in an interview on Friday, said the investors seek to complement the country’s electricity plan to add about 1 550 megawatts (MW) of electricity to the national grid by 2020.
Investors are keen to venture into solar power energy
“Government is negotiating with a number of potential investors in power generation using solar technology. Once implemented, these projects are expected to provide quick solutions to the power problems the country is experiencing at the moment,” he said.
Kalowekamo was, however, non-committal on the timeframe for implementation of the projects, saying currently government has already signed memoranda of understanding (MoUs) with the investors.
He said the investors include Airon Green Energy Turbines, CDC Group of United Kingdom, Grow Mine Africa (Pty) Ltd, JCM Clean Power Development, Water Wheel International INC (WWI), LM Intertec Solutions, CTI Africa LLC, HE Power –Malawi, Sinohydro, Africa Energy & Power Corporation (PTY) Limited, AX-ON Africa Holdings and Ulalo Capital Investments Limited.
Others are China Gezhouba, Dongfang Electric International Corporation, Maple Limited, Atlas Energy–Malawi, Bua Hydro Power Limited, Intra Energy Company, Multicoms Industrial Engineering Technologies Limited, Wems Limited, Rousant International Limited and China Sfeco Group.
The expected entry of the investors in the energy sector follows the liberalisation of electricity supply industry in 2003 coupled with the formulation of the integrated National Energy Policy, which is currently under review, and the recent government drive to encourage private sector participation.
Currently, the sole power supplier, Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (Escom), has an installed capacity of 351MW, most of which is generated on Shire River.
Malawi electricity penetration stands at just below 10 percent, according to Escom.
In an earlier interview, Malawi Energy Regulatory Authority (Mera) chief executive officer Ralph Kamoto bemoaned little interest shown by investors in the energy sector despite its huge potential.
“The current electricity penetration of between 9.8 and 10 percent is quite low, but we are hoping to move up to 40 percent in the next 20 years. We need to have power plant up north, use other sources of energy to provide power to our communities and we also need to diversify,” he said.
Minister of Natural Resources, Energy and Mining Bright Msaka earlier said government is willing to provide necessary support to investors in the energy sector, adding that Malawi has a lot of natural resources which can generate electricity.