Ministry of Natural Resources, Energy and Mining says Malawi plans to add 1 550 megawatts (MW) of electricity to the national grid by 2020.
The new plan is to be implemented through the yet to be launched Electricity Plan early next year as part of the National Energy Plan.
Malawi is currently facing prolonged load shedding due to low water levels in the Shire River, where over 90 percent of the country’s hydro electric power is generated by sole power utility Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (Escom).
In an interview with Business News last week, spokesperson responsible for energy issues in the Ministry of Natural Resources, Energy and Mining, Joseph Kalowekamo, said government is yet to establish the costs for all the projects lined up to achieve the dream.
He said: “The [new] plan is supposed to be developed after finalising the Energy Policy so that these documents are in tandem. The revised policy is expected to be ready by December, 2015. Thus the plan should be financed early next year.
“For most of the projects, construction costs will be determined after completion of feasibility studies. Some possible financing mechanisms for the projects are equity investment, multilateral donors, soft loans, joint ventures and commercial loans.”
Kalowekamo said that the plan has 20 projects, which are both short-term, running from 2015 to 2016, while others are medium-term running from 2015 to 2020.
The projects in the short term include solar (2016), which has a generation capacity of 15MW with 5MW per region with its solar mapping in progress.
Escom is also to implement from January 2016 a diesel powered plant to produce 10MW, another will be installed in April 2016 with energy capacity of 6MW while procurement is in process for another diesel plant with a capacity of 30MW to be implemented in December 2016.
Kalowekamo said still at procurement stage, Escom’s demand side management with a capacity of 35MW will be implemented in December 2016 and at concept stage and Bagasse Illovo (co-generation) with a capacity of 6MW will be implemented in 2016.
“Currently, engineering studies are underway in Dwangwa,” he said.
Other medium term projects government has lined up include Bagasse Illovo with a capacity of 40 MW to be implemented in 2018, Kholombizo with a capacity of 200MW.
While another Escom project with a capacity of 70 MW is to be implemented in 2018 is still at concept stage. Tedzani IV with a capacity of 22MW is to be implemented in 2018 with funding from Japan International Cooperation Agency (Jica).
Government is also eyeing Kam’mwamba Coal Fired Plant with a generation capacity of 300MW and a solar project with a capacity of 99MW.
Kalowekamo also indicated government is upgrading Tedzani, Nkula A and Chizuma hydropower stations.
In addition, Malawi Energy Regulatory Authority (Mera) board chairperson Dingiswayo Jere recently said through Independent Power Producers (IPPs), Malawi will add 300MW of electricity.
Uninterrupted power supply has remained one of the challenges in the energy sector.
Available data show that mining sector is largely untapped and currently contributes to less than six percent gross domestic product (GDP) against government target of 36 percent by 2020. n