Minister of Energy Ibrahim Matola has said Malawi will benefit from the $7.3 million (about K3 billion) United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)-funded Sustainable Energy Management (SEM).
The programme seeks to widen sources of energy beyond hydro-power.
Malawi relies on hydro-electricity as the main power source for both domestic and industrial use, but it is insufficiently generated.
Government of Malawi signed the SEM project support document which provides a framework of UNDP’s assistance to Malawi last week.
In a telephone interview this week, Matola said the four-year programme would improve the energy sector.
Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (Escom) is generating about 287 megawatts of power against suppressed demand in excess of 350 megawatts.
But due to increased prospects in the mining sector, the demand for electricity is projected to increase to 740 megawatts by 2015 and nearly to 1 400 megawatts by 2020.
“The programme focuses on renewable energy which will bring about energy saving and save on the hydropower that we depend on as a country. You can appreciate that the urban and rural masses depend on biomas, which results in deforestation. In turn, the impact of the deforestation is on climate change which affects the river flows and siltation and that affects the hydroelectricity,” he said.
The SEM programme follows the second generation Malawi Growth and Development Strategy (MGDS II) and United Nations Development Assistance Framework (Undaf 2012-2016) priorities and focuses on the introduction and use of renewable energy resources and improved energy efficiency.
Provision of sufficient and reliable energy in Malawi to sustain its socio-economic development is a major challenge as noted in the MGDS II and the Economic Recovery Plan (ERP).
There are a number of implementation outputs expected from the SEM programme. One is to ensure sustainable energy management mainstreaming in policies and development plans at national and district level.
In addition, the project will see to it that a national platform for coordination of renewable energy and energy efficiency interventions is established.
According to a statement released by UNDP, the SEM programme will review and finalise the Energy Policy of 2003 and related Acts; formulate a national renewable energy strategy; formulate a national strategy for energy saving technologies and energy efficiency and implement pilot projects on innovative renewable energy and energy efficient technologies.