Energy woes: Malawi banks on interconnector
Malawi Government is banking on completion of the Malawi-Mozambique Interconnector which, it hopes, will significantly boost power availability in the country.
Energy Minister, Bintony Kutsaira, was speaking in Lilongwe Thursday when he opened the 54th Southern Africa Power Pool (Sapp) meeting.
The interconnector is expected to be completed by end 2022 or early 2023.
“I am happy to inform the delegates that financing for the Mozambique-Malawi Interconnection Project was finally secured.
“As I speak, we are procuring contractors to start construction works. We expect to start reaping fruits of this project by the year 2022,” he said.
With regard to the 400kV Zambia-Malawi Interconnection, Kustaira said Malawi has undertaken feasibility studies for the line up to the border with Zambia.
“We are currently working with our Zambian counterparts to complete the feasibility studies on the Zambian side up to Chipata West Substation. It is our prayer that through the Sapp Project Implementation Unit, the completion of the feasibility studies will be accelerated,” Kutsaira said.
Currently, access to electricity stands at 12 percent, according to Kutsaira. He said the government targets to increase access to electricity to 30 percent by 2030.
He said through the Malawi Energy Access Project, which is being funded by the World Bank, the government aims to connect 90,000 customers on a yearly basis.
Escom Chief Executive Officer, Allexon Chiwaya, said currently Malawi still has some deficit in the availability of supply especially in the dry months of July to December.
Chiwaya said this is so because the country’s hydrology remains seasonal in nature which has a huge bearing on the availability of electricity as most of the supply is hydro-generated.
“Going forward, we expect some improvement. There are some generation projects which are in the pipeline being implemented by Independent Power Producers (IPPs), including the State-owned Electricity Generation Company (Egenco) and those through Public Private Partnerships (PPPs),” Chiwaya said.
The purpose of 54th Sapp meeting is to, among others, look at various issues from the planning, project preparation, operations, markets and environmental areas.
The Sadc region is believed to have a huge energy resource potential in the form of coal, hydro, gas and renewable energy that need to be exploited in an economically sound and sustainable manner for the benefit of the whole region.