Alternative energy crucial to Malawi's economic growth-MIE

The Malawi Institution of Engineers (MIE) says the country could face worst power outage in the next 30 years if it continues to solely rely on hydro power energy.

MIE general secretary Samuel Kalua told Nyasa Times the current power production needs to be supplemented by other energy sources such as biomass, windmill and solar as an alternative to hydro power failing which could affect the manufacturing industry.

Kalua said the country’s reliable power stations of Kapichira, Tedzani and Nkula are not enough to drive the country’s economy whose growth borders much on power performance.

“With the current situation it would even be difficult to talk of robust economic growth if the existing hydro power stations continue to perform poorly. So if the current trend continues for at least the next twenty to thirty years the country would be in for more economic woes as a result power shortages,” said Kalua.

He further added that as an engineering institution they would do everything possible to ensure local engineers are contributing towards innovation of products that could be ideal for the country’s energy sector.

Kalua added: “It’s better to have a variety of energy sources than maintain the hydro source which in years to come would make matters worse therefore resulting in poor economic growth due to malfunctioning of manufacturing industry. That is equally crucial for attracting foreign investment as no foreign investor would be comfortable to pump his money in a country that experiences frequent power outages.”

MIE’s observations come at a time when most companies in Malawi are fond of declaring annual losses something they attribute to unrelenting power shortages that characterized the regime of late president Bingu wa Mutharika.

However, despite the country’s engineers harbouring brilliant ideas, such concepts have failed to see light of day due to what Kalua described as lack of resources.

MIE recently donated locally made solar panels to a primary school in Mangochi as a pilot project.

The institution was established in 1998 with an aim to uphold the needs of engineers and is currently working with the Malawi government and the private sector in ensuring that the country’s engineering sector benefits through various development projects.

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