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‘Energy crucial in Vision Mw2063’

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Newton Kambala

President Lazarus Chakwera has said energy remains a crucial element in actualising the country’s long-term development plan, the Malawi 2063.

Chakwera said this Tuesday at Tedzani Hydropower Station in Blantyre when he commissioned a 19-megawatts (mw) power plant being managed by the Electricity Generation Company (Egenco).

He reiterated the government’s plans to add 1,000 megawatts to the national grid in the next four years, saying the commissioning of the Tedzani IV plant has reduced the target to 981mw.

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“I expect officials at the Ministry of Energy will not allow us to lose this momentum or miss our targets. Our country has suffered power shortages for far too long and should not be expected to wait any longer.

“Allowing Malawi to continue living in the dark ages is not a mindset I will tolerate in my administration because if we don’t get things right in our power supply service, it will have a knock-on effect on our vision to create jobs, create wealth and create food security,” Chakwera said.

The President added that he has identified and called for investments in the energy sector as one of his administration’s accelerators towards the vision.

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He hailed the partnership between Malawi and Japan where the latter contributed K50 billion for the project that he commissioned.

Japan Ambassador to Malawi Satoshi Iwakiri hailed the successful implementation of the project and called on Egenco to efficiently manage the power station for it to be sustainable.

On his part, Minister of Energy Newton Kambala said before the end of this year, the government will be commissioning the JCM Solar Power Plants at Nanjoka in Salima and Golomoti in Dedza which will add 80mw to the grid.

“The addition of 19mw to the grid from this power plant has increased the country’s generation capacity to around 441.55 megawatts. Although this capacity is still below the country’s demand of about 800 megawatts, it will go a long way in reducing the backlog of connection applicants at Escom,” Kambala said.

Egenco Chairperson ZangaZanga Chikhosi said that the company will be looking at other alternative sources of energy in a quest to reduce overreliance on hydroelectricity from the current 95 percent to a 72 percent target.

“In the 2018 to 2033 Strategy, we set out to increase power generation capacity by more than three times, from 367.37mw to 1, 687.4mw. We also set out to diversify our sources of energy, from hydropower, which was then more than 95 percent, to other sources such as solar, coal, gas, wind and many others.

“Our goal is to reach an era in which Malawi will have sufficient, reliable and affordable power. We have just begun the journey and with the support of the government, we have the confidence that we will achieve our targets,” Chikhosi said.

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