The Electricity Generation Company (Egenco) says the draft copy of the feasibility study on whether Wovwe Power Station in Karonga can produce an extra 4.5 megawatts (MW) of electricity will be ready next month.
Egenco signed an 18-month agreement with a German firm Fichtner early last year to carry out the study, which would culminate into a $12 million (about K9 billion) project that would boost electricity generation in the North, thereby reducing blackouts.
Commissioned in 1995, the station has three machines that produce 4.5MW supplied to Karonga, Chitipa, Rumphi and some parts of Mzuzu. The expansion would increase production capacity to 9MW.
Speaking on Wednesday during a tour of the facility with the Cabinet Committee on Energy, Egenco chief executive officer William Liabunya said the consultant has finished field work and is now working on paperwork.
He said: “We engaged a consultant some two years ago. He has been on site and gave us a preliminary report in February, but we had to extend the work because there were some other work to be done like the geological and geo-technical studies.
“So he finished the field work a month ago and we expected to have the draft final report in December. We hope that after that report, we should be able to analyse it and move forward to advertise, tender out for the contractor as well as financing.”.
Minister of Natural Resources, Energy and Mining BintonyKutsaira said Wovwe is one of the most efficient power stations; hence, the need to utilise its potential as the country continues reeling with electricity woes.
He said: “If we produce 9MW of power, it means we will forget about most parts of the North, and that will be a major achievement. It is the desire that the project should start as soon as possible.
“I have given directives that I want to see the dam under the project built, I want to see the project take off as soon as possible, because we are tired of these power challenges, so we have to work and provide for Malawians who are facing power challenges every day.”
On his part, Minister of Transport and Public Infrastructure Ralph Jooma, who is also a member of the Cabinet Committee, said the Wovwe project can easily transform the energy sector and called for its quick implementation.
Besides Wovwe, other power stations in the country are Kapichira, Nkula A, Nkula B, Tedzani I, Tedzani II, Tedzani III, and Tedzani IV.
All these are river run power stations–the type of hydroelectric generation plant where little or no water storage is provided. The running water is diverted from a flowing river and guided down a channel which leads to a generating house.