By Wezzie Gausi
Energy Minister Ibrahim Matola has urged JCM Power to fast-track the testing of Bess battery power, which is expected to produce five megawatts (mw).
JCM Power launched the 20mw Golomoti Solar PV+BESS Project in Dedza, where they are supposed to produce five more mw from the batteries, making it 25mw added to the national grid.
Speaking when he toured the facility in Dedza on Wednesday, Matola said there was a need to fast-track the process of testing battery power as the country was in dire need of electricity.
He said the coming in of independent power producers that have capacity to produce power from batteries would help the government meet its 1,000mw production target by 2025.
“We, as a government, are pleased with how fast the work is being done at this site. We are expecting to be getting 25 megawatts from the Golomoti project. Currently, we are only getting 20 megawatts as 5mw are still on test.
“We want the process of testing these batteries to move with speed so that we can be able to bridge the gap that was created after Aggreko left the country,” Matola said.
JCM Power Country Relations Manager Jonas Sani said frequency instability was one of the challenges they were facing since they started the process of testing.
Sani said the Golomoti solar power plant was the only power station that uses batteries to support its functions.
“As things stand, we are only realising three megawatts from the five megawatts that the batteries are producing. This power is realised between 6pm and 8pm to complement the 20 megawatts we are producing.
“We are sure that, by the end of this month, we will be able to realise the whole five megawatts [and contribute them] to the national grid,” Sani said.
Power Market Limited (PML) Chief Executive Officer Rosemary Mkandawire said she was impressed with the speed JCM had taken to construct the power plant.
She said the power being provided was sufficient in the absence of Agrekko generators.
“The coming in of Golomoti solar power plant, which has battery storage, will help improve power generation. You know solar power is weather-based and if the weather is cloudy there are problems in producing the power.
“But with the batteries at the site, they will act as a backup in times of bad weather, thereby bridging the gap that may be created with weather problems,” Mkandawire said.