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Firms to add 140MW to grid

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By William Kumwembe:

Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (Escom) Monday signed 14 power purchase agreements (PPAs) with four independent power producers (IPPs) that could add 140 megawatts (MW) to the national power grid.

Of the 14 agreements, 10 are under the Energy Generation Company (Egenco) which is already feeding into the national grid.

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Currently, the generation capacity by Egenco hovers between 230MW and 250MW, of which 71MW are produced from diesel-powered generators.

The other three IPPs are Droege which will be producing 20MW and 40MW of solar and wind power, respectively, Quantel which will contribute 50MW through solar and Atlas, which will add another 20MW solar power.

The generated power would fit into the national power grid through power infrastructure built under the $350.7 million (about K257 billion) energy compact through the Millennium Challenge Corporation.

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The infrastructure has helped to modernise electricity transmission and distribution infrastructure in the country.

The additional power is expected to help narrow the gap between electricity supply and demand.

Currently, electricity demand hovers between 360MW and 460MW while supply has been hovering around 360MW.

Speaking after signing the agreements, Escom Chief Executive Officer, Alexion Chiwaya, said the supply-demand gap was wide.

He said the additional power supply would help ease the pressure.

“This is why we are trying hard on the supply side of the equation so that we must have a surplus in a way,” Chiwaya said.

He said the coming in of the IPPs would help the country increase its energy generation capacity.

Malawi Energy Regulatory Authority Chief Executive Officer, Collins Magalasi, challenged the IPPs to start operating within the agreed timeframe.

“I would urge you to make sure that there is sufficient power on the market for the benefit of consumers on the market,” Magalasi said.

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