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Government gets Kapichira rehabilitation boost

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Ibrahim Matola

President Lazarus Chakwera has assured Malawians that cases of blackouts will be reduced significantly by December this year as government has secured $600 million for the rehabilitation of Kapichira hydro dam.

Chakwera made the remarks Monday when he commissioned JCM Solar Power plant at Golomoti in Dedza District, meaning that the national grid will have 20 megawatts more.

“The government has secured a $600 million soft loan from the World Bank for rehabilitation works of the dam, which was destroyed by floods,” he said.

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The President commended JCM for establishing the plant and for creating close to 500 jobs during the construction phase.

At the event, the President ordered Energy Minister Ibrahim Matola to act on outstanding squabbles between power supplier Electricity Corporation of Malawi and Power Market Limited.

Chakwera said it was not right for independent power plants to be failing to operate because of government bureaucracy.

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“Reports of independent power producers being frustrated, or not being assisted, in their quest to explore power purchase agreements with our government leave a lot to be desired.

“These matters were already settled by law and the ministry must identify who in these institutions is causing roadblocks to implementation of settled policy and see to it that their resistance is thwarted,” Chakwera said.

Deputy British High Commissioner to Malawi David Pert also urged the government to be clear on the issue of independent power buyer, pointing out that some investors might wish to produce and sell the power themselves.

On his part, Matola warned power producers that have licences but have not yet started operating that their licences would be revoked.

JCM Power Chief Executive Officer Christian Wray said the continuous improvement of the energy situation in Malawi is of critical importance to the economic development of the country.

“This project – a utility-scale solar and battery project– is the first of its kind in Malawi and the largest of its kind across sub-Saharan Africa,” he said.

In November last year, Chakwera commissioned a 60 megawatts JCM plant in Nkhotakota District.

JCM is an international independent power producer that is headquartered in Toronto, Canada, but with operations and projects under development across sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.

The Golomoti Power Plant was co-developed by JCM Power and InfraCo Africa.

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