The construction of 200-megawatts (MW) Kholombidzo Hydroelectric Power Plant(HPP) along Malawi’s Shire River is expected to start in 2018 and end in 2021, the department of energy and mining has said.
After completion, the plant will contribute towards increasing electricity generation and supply for commercial, industrial and domestic use.
Currently, a feasibility study on the project is underway and being conducted by Coba Consultores de Engenharia, a consulting firm from Portugal. The results are expected before the end of this year.
Responding to a questionnaire on the progress of the project, Department of Energy spokesperson Joseph Kalowekamo said the investment cost of the plant will be known when the final feasibility and engineering design study reports are out.
“A Public Private Partnership [PPP] financing model is preferred for this project considering the huge potential electricity generation capacity of the plant and perceived investment risk by the private sector if they are to go it alone.
“If indeed the project will go for a PPP financing model, then government will most likely operate through the newly-established Electricity Generation Company [Egenco],” he said.
The Government of Malawi received a grant in March 2013 from African Development Fund (AfDB) to finance the cost of conducting a feasibility study for the project amounting to $3.04 million while the country was supposed to contribute $0.23 million.
Kalowekamo said an interim feasibility study report was submitted to the ministry a few months ago for review and the contents of which will be accessible to the public once the final report is out.
However, Minister of Natural Resources, Energy and Mining Bright Msaka, in an earlier interview, said his ministry is in the process of preparing bidding documents as the [interim] feasibility study concluded a few months ago.
“We don’t think that government would invest in that project to generate power because the competing demands on our budget and electricity projects are very expensive,” he said, adding that an independent power producer (IPP) will do the work. n