An Africa Progress Panel report, a follow up to the 2015 Africa Progress Report: Power, People, Planet: Seizing Africa’s Energy and Climate Opportunities has urged African governments including Malawi to move faster to bridge energy gaps by adopting every available solution, on and off the grid.
The report titled Lights, Power and Action: Electrifying Africa Lights, Power states that other than waiting for grid expansion governments should instead increase investment in off-grid and mini-grid solutions, which are cheaper and quicker to install.
Said the report: “Available shows that 620 million Africans do not have access to electricity. This calls for speedy adoption of every available solution, on and off the grid. Grid-connected megaprojects such as large dams and power pools are essential to scale up national and regional energy generation and transmission, but they are slow and expensive.”
The 10-member Africa Progress Panel headed by former United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan advocates at the highest levels for equitable and sustainable development in Africa.
The report calls governments to harness every available option, in as cost-effective and technologically efficient a manner as possible, so that everyone is included and no one is left behind.
“More than that, governments need to foster an environment in which companies can enter energy generation, transmission and distribution markets, climb the value chain, and build the investment partnerships that can drive growth and create jobs,” said report.
Malawi is currently struggling to produce adequate power to the Malawi population a development which initiated plans to unbundle the entity into two.
Currently the water flow in the Shire River which is Egenco’s main source of energy generation only allows it to produce up to 200 megawatts (MW) against a maximum generation capacity of 351.75 MW topped up by a 10MW diesel-powered plant installed in Lilongwe necessitating load shedding of 140 mega watts.
Presently players in the energy sector have committed to diversity electricity generation sources so as to increase available power for Malawians and industries.
Electricity Generation Company (Egenco), the country’s sole generation company told Business News in an interview that the company is looking into exploring alternative sources of energy such as solar, coal and diversifying hydro from the Shire River.
The company’s chief executive officer William Liabunya said Egenco is currently in discussions to source finances for some of the projects but is also looking into diesel engines for peaking power plant.
“As a company, we see our role of leading in power generation and generating power for generations to come.
“Our hope is not just in natural phenomenon alone (hoping for more rainfall, but the vision that both government and Egenco have for the entire power sector. Soon we will be rolling out these alternative power sources,” he said.
Minister of Minister of Natural Resources, Energy and Mining Bright Msaka is on record calling on the country’s electricity generation entities to make more investments in power generation.
He said in recent interview with Business News that government would want to see Egenco along with upcoming Independent Power Producers (IPPs) in solar, coal, wind, geothermal and whatever technology exists for power generation.
Msaka said government will continue to provide an enabling environment for energy players to thrive and bring about the much need energy in the country. n