The Malawi-Mozambique power interconnection project set to materialise in 2020 has taken off the ground with consultants conducting an Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) study to determine the best route for transmission lines.
Meanwhile, Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (Escom) and Electricidade de Mocambique (EDM) have engaged WSPCanada and the Water, Waste and Environmental Consultants (WWEC) to undertake the ESIA and prepare a Resettlement Policy Framework (RPF) for the project by June 2017.er
The consultants have already started conducting exchanges and meetings with stakeholders, organisations and communities concerned with the project, mainly in Neno, Balaka and Mwanza districts.
Briefing journalists in Blantyre yesterday, WSP project consultant Francis Barbe said the assessment seeks to document the positive and negative effects the project might have on the natural environment and communities.
He said: “It also aims to identify and plan the required measures to mitigate or compensate for adverse impacts and to maximise positive impacts.
The Environmental and Social Impact Assessment study shall put forward an environmental and social monitoring programme to accompany the implementation of the project.
“The Resettlement Policy Framework will provide a preliminary assessment of the households and collective assets that are likely to be displaced by the project. Displacement can be either physical [loss of shelter] or economical [loss of access to land-based resources affecting livelihoods].”
In his remarks, WWEC development specialist Mabvuto Phula said the consultants have already met officials from the Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development, Ministry of Natural Resources, Energy and Mining’s Environmental Affairs Department and the Malawi Human Rights Commission (MHRC) on the ESIA.
The Malawi-Mozambique Interconnection Project will involve construction of a 210-kilometre 400kV power transmission line from Matambo Substation in Tete, Mozambique, to Phombeya Substation in Balaka.
The interconnection is set to address the current power challenges in the country through fostering development of new sources of power and by encouraging investors in the power market.