Minister of Natural resources, Energy and Mining, Aggrey Masi, says the use of diesel generators to offset the current electricity challenges is good for the country; but an expert say the move is not sustainable.
Masi hailed the move by Electricity Generation Company (Egenco) to install 36 megawatts (MW) of diesel generators which are expected to be commissioned this November, with six MW plant in Mzuzu, 10 MW in Lilongwe and 20 MW in Blantyre as well as the procuring of 50 MW emergency power and the acquisition of land for solar panels.
This follows a tour the minister had on Tuesday at Kapichira Power Station in Chikwawa.
Egenco chief executive officer, William Liabunya, said apart from the diesel generators and the 50 MW emergency power which are set to offset the current shortage, they are also acquiring land for solar panels where they will install 20 MW as a start of solar PV generation.
In a separate interview on Wednesday however, former chief executive officer for the Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (Escom) Kandi Padambo said while it is imperative to use such for short term relief, the move is not sustainable for the economy.
“Use of diesel generators for electricity generation is very expensive, even if it is for home use only. One need to come up with cost as to how much one can use per kilowatt per hour because even for a 10 MW generator, it will require heavy machinery which is costly and it is the electricity user who is going to pay for these,” he said.
Padambo said while it is costly, consumers must understand that to produce the goods and services which will be necessitated by these generators, they must pay the price.
Liabunya said the company is still looking into exploring other alternative sources of energy such as geothermal, coal and wind.
Malawi has in recent years been experiencing inadequate power supply and prolonged power outages.
Escom is expected to add 70MW of power through solar power supplied by Independent Power Producers by October 2018. n