The UK Government has set aside £20 million (about K26 billion) to enable private sector players in the renewable energy sector access to implement various off-grid projects.
This follows the visit to Malawi by representatives of 11 British firms and organisations under the Innovate UK and Energy Catalyst.
On Wednesday, the investors attended a business engagement forum with Malawian energy sector entrepreneurs and investors in Lilongwe.
The team’s week-long visit was meant to explore renewable energy investment opportunities in Malawi as a follow up to the successful implementation of two solar power projects by a Canadian independent power producer JCM Power in Salima with 60 megawatts
(MW) and Golomoti in Dedza with 20MW capacity.
In her presentation, Sustainable Innovation Fund impact and performance manager Amy Flynn said they have ready finance for Malawian clean energy projects as such they are seeking local partnerships.
She said: “We have a total of £20 million available across three opportunities. Early stage, which is feasibility studies, mid-stage which is industrial research and late stage which is experimental development.
“This support aims to help innovators pioneer new ways to improve lives in Africa, Asia and the Indo-Pacific and create economic opportunities.”
She said the support facilitates strategic partnerships and connections across the energy access ecosystem to help commercialise new technologies and business models.
Flynn said to be eligible, the projects should address three things, namely transforming energy access to speed up access to affordable, clean energy services for poor households, enterprises and social institutions in sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia or the Indo-Pacific region.
She said the projects should support the development, testing or scale up of innovative technologies or business
models and should also have a clear social or economic benefit to those regions.
Reads the presentation in part: “Clean energy access is key with organisations needed to have a business model which addresses the three key metrics: affordable, reliable and low carbon. Business models which do not meet all three will not be assessed.”
Deputy British High Commissioner David Pert said his govenment continues to be a global leader in supporting countries to pursue sustainable energy, saying the UK remains committed to building back a better and greener world.
He said: “Access to reliable and sustainable energy remains a huge challenge for Malawi. It remains one of the major binding constraints to sustained economic growth in the country.”
Renewable Energy Industries Association of Malawi president Sosten Chigalu said they are ready to tap into the readily available financing from the UK investors, saying with current energy deficits, they will not let any investments opportunity to slip away.
Minister of Energy Ibrahim Matola told the investors that energy investment opportunities remain enormous in Malawi as 85 percent of the population has no access to electricity.
He said following the Tropical Storm Ana impact on the Kapichira Hydro Power Station, the country’s national grid can only supply about 245MW which is a serious challenge for private sector production.
The Energy Catalyst mission is to accelerate the innovation needed to meet Sustainable Development Goal Seven on affordable and clean energy by providing financial and advisory support to innovators to create strategic partnerships, uncover insights and develop business models to improve lives in Africa and Asia.
Ministry of Energy figures show that 15 percent of the population has access to electricity with 11 percent covered by the national grid and four percent by off grid means