Minister of Energy Newton Kambala says the Malawi-Mozambique Power Interconnection Project will be ready by 2023, a development that should improve the country’s electricity supply.
In an interview on Wednesday after touring Phombeya power sub-station in Balaka, which was constructed with part of the $357.1 milllion (K264 billion) United States Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) energy compact, the minister said electricity is critical for the country’s development and is top on the agenda for the new government.
Kambala said the new government is working towards ensuring that there is sufficient and uninterrupted power supply.
He said: “The project [Malawi-Mozambique Power Interconnection] is at an advanced stage, but we are still pushing for funding to have it completed at the earliest time.
“Suffice it to say that most of the activities have been done and so far it looks like we are quite ready for most of the projects.”
Kambala said he has been assured that everything has been done and “we are just waiting for the connection which will be completed by 2023 for distribution through the sub-station”.
The power project’s main undertaking includes the construction of a 218 kilometre 400 kiloVolts (kV) high voltage alternating current transmission line, grid connections and associated infrastructure, including sub-station works and links to the Southern Africa Power Pool (Sapp).
The project will interconnect Mozambique and Malawi power systems through the transmission line from Matambo sub-station in Tete Province in Mozambique to Phombeya sub-station in Balaka, Malawi.
The power interconnector is expected to promote regional cooperation and integration by expanding the regional power transmission network in accordance with the objectives of Sapp—the first and the most advanced power pool on the continent providing an alternative to domestic electricity generation.
On his part, Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi acting distribution manager Masauko Mula said the sub-station is ready to receive power and distribute it within the country.
He said: “This sub-station is important in the transmission of power in the country.
“It has several lines and necessary equipment that can allow it to ably get and transmit power to other stations.”
Apart from the Malawi-Mozambique power interconnector, the Malawi Government also signed a power supply agreement with Zambia for importation of 20 megawatts (MW) through Chipata in Mchinji.
Currently, Malawi generates about 250MW against a suppressed demand of 351MW.
The unmet electricity needs do not account for the majority of Malawians—about 88 percent—who are not yet connected to the national grid.