Public Private Partnership Commission (PPPC) says the 350 megawatts (MW) Mpatamanga Hydro Power Project is taking shape and that investors have already submitted their final technical and financial proposals for assessment.
PPPC shortlisted two international energy firms—SN Power Invest of The Netherlands and Electricite De France SA of France—tto work as a consortium for the project expected to be completed in the next four years.
PPPC chief executive officer Patrick Kabambe in an interview on Monday said they are currently evaluating contents of the submissions from the two firms.
He said: “This is a very technical project and we are currently carefully handling the whole process to ensure that it just does not take off, but its implementation is executed smoothly.
“We are currently almost through with key variables of the submissions. The board will soon meet to look into issues such as affordability of the electricity which will be produced, among others.”
Kabambe said once the assessment is complete, the board will go into negotiations with the investors to ensure that the process is completed before this year ends.
The Mpatamanga Hydro Power Project consists of two hydro power plants, a main power plant and a main dam reservoir with daily storage capacity capable of generating 309MW of electricity on a peaking basis.
There is also a regulating dam with a hydro power plant capable of generating 41MW of base load electricity, downstream from the main reservoir and power plant.
The project is a national priority which seeks to address the country’s severe power deficit and reliability issues.
Malawi is struggling to produce adequate power, with only 10 percent of the country’s 18.5 million people having access to electricity, according to the Malawi Sustainable Energy Investments Report.
Energy consultant Grain Malunga, who is also former minister for Energy and Natural Resources, is on record as having said that the project is crucial and remains the country’s key project to ease power shortages.
He said: “Malawi is energy hungry where the country is still far way from achieving our energy needs.
“We see and hope that the Mpatamanga project, with the coming in of the private sector, would bring efficient energy and reliable supply in the country.”
A recent World Bank study on how to invite private interest in power sector investments in the sub-Saharan Africa region revealed that Malawi has substantial power sector reforms and ranked the country among those ready for private investment.
The country’s current electricity demand is projected at about 800MW; hence, with Electricity Generation Company’s total installed generation capacity standing at 441.95MW, there is a gap of about 358MW.