Minister of Energy Newton Kambala has said the government is considering having a coal-fired power Plant in the Northern Region to solve energy challenges in the country.
Speaking after touring Wovwe Hydro-Electric Plant in Karonga District, Kambala said the country has a lot of coal deposits which can help boost the energy sector.
Kambala highlighted that Malawi’s coal has higher calorific value compared to that of countries such as India which have a lot of coal fired power plants.
“There is a company that came to our office two weeks ago to pitch a project for a coal-fired power plant. And from the way he presented his project, its one way that would help Malawi in the energy sector. So we have also encouraged him to push for investigations to see if he can to do it and find financiers. We have a lot of coal deposits here,” Kambala said.
Coal-fired plants produce electricity by burning coal in a boiler to produce steam. The steam, produced under tremendous pressure, flows into a turbine, which spins a generator to create electricity.
In the pipeline, Malawi has Kam’mwamba Coal Fired Power Plant project which was expected to be constructed from 2016. The project is expected to add to the national grid 300 megawatts (MW) and will be using about 400,000 tonnes of coal annually.
Among others the Northern Region has Kaziwiziwi, Mchenga, Kasikizi and Jalawe coal mines.
Apparently, Electricity Generation Company has said its plans to extend power generation at Wovwe from 4.5MW to 9MW are on track.
Egenco Chief Executive officer, William Liabunya, said hydro power plants need a lot of time to be completed.
According to the United States Agency for International Development data, Malawi ranks poorly in the Southern Africa region in terms of access to electricity at 11 percent of the population covered.