Preliminary feasibility studies carried out by the Ministry of Natural Resources, Energy and Mining have uncovered 81 geothermal sites which prospective investors in the energy sector can use to produce power.
Geothermal energy is heat (thermal) derived from the earth. It is the thermal energy contained in the rock and fluid that fills the fractures and pores in the rock in the earth’s crust.
According to Natural Resources, Energy and Mining Minister Bright Msaka, Malawi has potential to produce energy from a variety of sources as one way of ending the energy woes currently affecting the country.
Msaka was speaking in an exclusive interview on Tuesday in Lilongwe when he was asked to explain developments in the energy sector and what the country needs to do to generate more power to end frequent blackouts.
Said Msaka: “This country has huge potential to produce energy from other sources, apart from water. For example, the preliminary feasibility studies have uncovered 81 geothermal sites where prospective investors can produce power. We have also produced a wind map and a radiation map which will act as a guide as to which particular places energy can be generated with ease.”
Msaka said there are investors who are ready to produce about 1 700 megawatts (MW) and once they are joined to the Escom grid, the country will have enough energy for local consumption and for export during off peak hours.
“It is very pleasing that we have these commitments because once we start producing more power, blackouts will be a thing of the past. With enough energy, we can spur growth in the mining, manufacturing and agro-processing sector,” said Msaka.
Efforts to talk to Mera officials, who are the regulators in the energy sector, proved futile but Msaka said with more players in this sector, chances are high that Malawi energy tarrifs will be competitive.
“We ask all Malawians to support government efforts to bring in more players in the energy sector. As government, we will make sure that tariffs are low to make the country’s electricity competitive.”n