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Coal power project hangs in balance

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Government says it is becoming difficult for the country to find partners to finance the construction of Kam’mwamba Coal Fired Electricity Generation Plant due to environmental concerns.

Principal Secretary for Energy Patrick Matanda said most of the possible partners regard coal electricity as environmentally unfriendly.

He was speaking on the sidelines of a visit of members of the parliamentary cluster committee of Agriculture and Natural Resources to Phombeya Power Substation recently. Matanda said most of the prospective partners are shunning coal electricity due to environmental concerns.

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“It is not a secret that now people are looking for environmental friendly energy and coal is not one of them. Government handed over the project to Egenco last year but it is getting difficult to get financing partners for the project because of that,” he said.

Government handed over construction of the power plant to Electricity Generation Company (Egenco) of Malawi after the initial plan for the project fell off.

Government planned to construct the plant to the tune of $667 million with support from China’s Export and Import Bank.

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Speaking in a separate interview, Egenco’s Public Relations Officer Moses Gwaza said the company confirmed that they are yet to identify financing partners of the project.

He however said Egenco has engaged a consultant who is reviewing a feasibility study of the project.

The review, which started in September, is expected to take about six months and after that, the company will finalise the financial arrangement.

“We engaged a consultant Fitchner from Germany who is doing a review of the feasibility study which was previously done in 2014. Once that is concluded then we will finalise the financial arrangement and embark on implementation,” Gwaza said.

Initial plans were for the construction of a 1,000 megawatts (MW) plant but the project was scaled down to 300MWs.

The project is billed to help end the country’s energy woes if completed.

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