Millennium Challenge Account-Malawi (MCA-Malawi) has commissioned machinery worth $2 million to the Energy Generation Company (Egenco) for weed harvesting and clearing of debris in the Shire River.
The machinery— which includes two weed harvesters, shore conveyers and tipper trucks—will help to reduce blockages at the Nkula Hydropower Generation Plant.
The amount is a component of the $350.7 million United States (US) government’s compact with Malawi for the revitalisation of the energy sector.
About 95 percent of the national electricity available is generated from hydropower and, in recent years, generation of power has been compromised by low water levels, aquatic weed, siltation and sedimentation.
US Ambassador to Malawi, Virginia Palmer, said, as part of the compact, the move is meant to improve energy generation capacity in Malawi by reducing blockages within power generation machines.
“The two harvesters will work to reduce the weeds and debris flowing downriver, which in turn will help reduce blockages at Nkula and greatly improve generation,” Palmer said.
Speaking on the sidelines of the handover, Minister of Energy, Aggrey Masi, said weed infestation and sedimentation of silt have been among major challenges resulting in low power generation.
He then rated the move as a milestone towards the energy revitalisation programme, whose goal is to spur economic growth and, thereby, reduce poverty in Malawi.
“Malawi will sustain the investments and ensure that it works towards attracting investors towards energy generation,” Masi said.
Egenco Chief Executive Officer, William Liabunya, also said the move will help ease challenges to smooth flow of water.
MCA-Malawi is implementing the five-year power supply project expected to conclude in September, 2018.
The programme is designed to increase individual and business incomes and reduce poverty by improving the availability, reliability and quality of power supply, expanding access to power and revitalising Malawi’s power sector.