Players in the energy sector have hailed the K42.1 billion ($57 million) Malawi-Mozambique Power Interconnection Project saying it would enable the country ease its age-old power challenges.
World Bank Board of Executive Directors nodded to the project last week.
Ministry of Energy spokesperson, Sangwani Phiri, said trade agreements for the project were signed between Electricity Supply Commission of Malawi and Electricidade de Mozambique (EDM).
Phiri said initially, Mozambique was expected to sell Malawi 50 megawatts of electricity but the interconnector would allow Malawi to import 200 megawatts from Southern African Power Pool.
“[The] government has embarked on a series of energy-related infrastructure developments. With the coming in of electricity through interconnecting purchases from EDM through these funds, it is everyone’s expectation that there will soon be enough electricity for household and industrial use,” he said.
Malawi Energy Regulatory Authority (Mera) Chief Executive Officer, Collins Magalasi, said the interconnector would not only allow the country to import power but also export electricity when there is a surplus.
Magalasi said Malawi produces over 200 megawatts against demand of 400 megawatts.
The demand for electricity is expected to hit 700 megawatts in the next three years, but Magalasi said Malawi has offers from Independent Power Producers to produce up to 2,100 megawatts of electricity by 2027.
“Our electricity is going to be even cheaper than what is produced in other counties such as Namibia, so we will be able to supply electricity to other countries when we have surplus,” he said.
The project’s main undertakings include construction of a 218-kilometre, 400 kV high voltage power transmission line, grid connections and associated infrastructure, including substation works from Matambo Substation in Tete Province, Central Mozambique, and ends at Phombeya substation in Balaka.
“With these investments, Malawian households, businesses, and farmers will benefit from increased access to reliable electricity services that are vital to improve the country’s productivity and competitiveness in the domestic and regional markets,” the bank’s statement says.
Malawi targets 50 percent electricity coverage by 2025, up from the current 11 percent.