Power grid capacity a challenge to IPPs


The national power grid has inadequate capacity that limits the amount of extra power produced by Independent Power Producers (IPPs) that can immediately be taken by the Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (Escom) for distribution to industries and consumers.

Several prospective IPPs have applied for power production projects in the country, but they are yet to sign for power purchase agreements with Escom.

Department of Energy spokesperson, Joseph Kalowekamo confirmed in an interview on Monday that the capacity of the current network is not enough to take the expected extra power.


He said there is need to extend the transmission network to enable it to carry large amounts of electricity.

“This will also reduce technical losses on transmission lines which are currently over 15 percent,” he said.

Malawi is currently using 66KV and 132KV lines to transmit electricity from power stations and sub-stations to various parts of the country.


Minister of Natural Resources, Energy and Mining, Bright Msaka, said the current power grid has about 50 megawatts but that projects are already in the pipeline to expand the capacity.

He said apart from the United States government-fund Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) Compact Project, there are also some IPPs that will work with Escom to expand the transmission lines.

According to the Department of Energy, two prospective IPPs have already signed agreements with the government to invest in transmission lines.

The two companies are LM Intertec Solutions and Sinohydro of China.

Sinohydro is preparing project proposals on possible investment in the energy sector including one on the transmission line while LM Intertec Solutions is waiting for completion of feasibility studies on their transmission line project, according to Kalowekamo.

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