Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (Escom) on Saturday signed a power transmission agreement with Cedar Energy, adding 3.4 megawatts (MW) to the national grid.
Switching on Cedar Energy’s Muloza Hydro Power Station, Minister of Energy Ibrahim Matola described the development as a milestone in cementing the partnership between government and independent power producers (IPP) that will help the country’s goal of producing 1000 MW by 2025.
He said: “We need many players in order to reach the intended goal of generating 1000 MW by 2015. For so long we have over-relied on the Shire River, that’s putting all our eggs in one basket.
“However, with this kind of contribution, we shall overcome electricity challenges in the country.”
Escom chief executive officer Kamkwamba Kumwenda said the project will supply over 2 500 households in parts of Mulanje, Thyolo, Phalombe, Chiradzulu and Zomba.
He said: “This is a big plus considering the massive load-shedding the country is experiencing. People [from these destricts] will have reduced load-shedding and continue engaging in meaningful development activities that require power.
“We can actually supply to other areas the power supplied by Egenco [Energy Generation Company] that was meant for this area.”
The coming in of Muloza Hydro-power Station brings the total number of power generated from IPPs to 74 MW.
Other IPPs adding power to the grid include Salima JCM Power which supplies 60MW and Mulanje Hydro Ltd which supplies about 8MW.
Escom is spending an average rate of 10 cents per kilowatt-hour (kWH) to buy electricity from Cedar Energy.
Egenco, whose total installed generation capacity stands at 441.95MW, Cedar Energy technical director William Steen said the company has invested $30 million (about K24 billion) to develop small hydro power projects across the country to generate 20MW.
He said: “This project outputs about 8 600MW hours per year. In addition to other advantages, it will help to stabilise the grid on this side.”
Malawi requires about 1 000 megawatts but with the outage of about 130 MW from Kapichirai Hydro Power Station, the country is generating about 300MW.