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Government to construct 50 mini-power stations

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By Isaac Salima:

Minister of Energy Ibrahim Matola has said that the government will construct 50 mini-power generating stations across the country to make electricity available to rural masses.

Matola was speaking in Mulanje District when Mulanje Mountain Conservation Trust (MMCT) through Mulanje Electricity Generation Agency handed over to government Bondo Power House, the country’s first mini-grid.

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The mini hydro station, which has been installed with support from United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), has been using water from Lichenya river and currently generates 220 kilowatts which is supplied to 1600 customers in communities within the district.

Matola said it was important for the country to have such mini-grids for the social and economic transformation of rural masses in the country.

“We thank UNDP for the support to come up with this mini grid and they have since provided us a grant to install 50 mini power stations across the country. Feasibility studies have already been conducted and soon we will be installing them.

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“We cannot continue relying on power from national grid which is intermittent and it is time to use other sources of energy to supply people across the nation and this is the only way that can transform the country socially and economically,” Matola said.

UNDP Resident Representative, Shigeki Komatsubara, expressed commitment to continue investing in the energy sector in the country.

“This project is giving communities different ways of developing themselves, creating jobs and wealth. This is a very successful story to us and the whole country. We have kick started the project and will continue assisting Malawi to achieve its dreams in the energy sector,” Komatsubara said.

MMCT project coordinator Arnold Kaziponye said in the second phase of the project, they would like to increase generation capacity to 6.5 megawatts (MW) by 2025 and expand the network to at least 10,000 customers.

He said they will contribute 4MW from the 6.5MW to the national grid.

The plant has been constructed from 2009 to 2019 and UNDP pumped $500,000 (about K518 million) towards the project.

The country has been experiencing blackouts as a result of heavy rains that damaged one of the reliable electricity generating power stations, Kapichira, and in the process taking off about 130MW from the national grid.

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