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Firm explores hydropower

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Frank Harawa

One of the country’s Independent Power Producers, ECL Energy Limited, has revealed plans to establish small hydropower plants in the country’s rivers to boost electricity generation capacity.

An expression of interest addressed to the Chief Executive Officer of Power Market Limited by the firm indicates that the company intends to establish a 6.2 megawatts (mw) plant along the Lilongwe River at an expected cost of $17 million (about K14 billion).

It further indicates that the project would take 20 months to complete. The company expects a tariff of $0.10 per kilowatt-hour.

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One of ECL Energy Limited directors, Frank Harawa, said engineers had conducted studies on several rivers in the country and settled for seven rivers but in the initial stage, projects will begin on two.

“We are ready and we can start even today if we got the approvals from the authorities. We have done all the necessary studies and have submitted our paperwork to the necessary Authorities. We have done similar projects in Rwanda, Uganda and Sri-Lanka and now we are in Malawi.

“A pre-feasibility study showed that we can produce 6.2 mw on Lilongwe River but we expect that once we do a full study, we could get even 10 mw from the same and this is the way to go,” Harawa said.

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Power Market Limited Director of Corporate Services Villant Jana said the company was processing a lot of applications.

“We receive a lot of applications and we will make a determination and tender necessary projects in due course,” Jana said.

The country is facing power challenges following damage to infrastructure at Kapichira hydropower plant due to tropical storm Ana which meant a loss of 130 mw.

Before the storm the country had an electricity generation capacity of 421 mw against a demand of over 800 mw.

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