Bwengu Solar Photovoltaic Project to add 50MW to national grid

QUANTEL Renewable Energy Limited and its partners – Frontier Energy of Denmark and Vidullanka PlC of Sri Lanka – have disclosed that their Bwengu Solar Photovoltaic Project in Mzimba will add 50 megawatts of solar power to the national grid.

They say this will contribute towards ensuring access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all.

However, the investors of the $65 million (about K60 billion) project have asked the Malawi Government to quickly iron out all the outstanding issues that will affect them in finalizing their ground work within their intended period.

Quantel CEO Partridge Shycal

Bwengu Solar Photovoltaic Project is the second largest solar plant after the JCM Solar PV Plant’s 60 megawatts’ project.

The multi-billion project, which will allow the citizens to access affordable, reliable and sustainable modern energy, is expected to finish within a period of nine to 12 months.

But speaking during the launch at Bwengu on Monday, Quantel Renewable Energy Chief Executive Officer, Patridge Shycal, said there are a number of issues that will delay their ground work.

“We can confidently say that we are challenged to deliver to the expectation of both the Malawi Government through the Ministry of Energy, the single Buyer PML and the Regulator MERA and overall, to the People of the Republic of Malawi. The trust given to us, as demonstrated by the power purchasing Agreement (PPA) signed between us and the single Buyer PML is not and will at no point in time be taken for granted.

“To the people of Ularo Village, we commit to ensure that there is a mutual working relationship, and most importantly a collective action in ensuring that the 50MW is provided into the grid. Our Traditional leaders, through your Majesty Inkosi Ya Makosi M’mbelwa the V, fathers, mothers, boys and girls from Ularo Village, this is our project hence our appeal to you to support it,” said Shycal.

He emphasized that the groundbreaking ceremony that took place a few days ago was a clear manifestation of Quantel’s commitment to fully invest in the project.

Shycal said it is an opportunity for them to demonstrate their responsible corporate citizenship through various corporate social programmes we have lined up to benefit the people of Ularo and surrounding communities. It is a commitment to our collective resolve of contributing towards an inclusive wealthy and self –reliant Malawi envisaged by all Malawians come 2063.

“Representing all the partners in this project, I wish to express gratitude, through you the guest of honour and the Ministry of Energy to the Malawi government for providing an enabling environment for us the private sector to contribute towards the promotion of the energy sector. Am happy to say that this is what we are demonstrating today here at Mtendere School Ground as we are officially rolling out the Bwengu Project. Need I mention the commendable role of Malawi Energy Regulatory Authority (MERA) in regulating the energy sector talks less of PML the single buyer? These offices have also been instrumental in supporting the project and it is our hope that they will continue doing so,” he explained.

He, however, expressed fear that government’s delay to provide electricity transmission as well as connections could frustrate their efforts.

Shycal pleaded with the Malawi Government and all relevant stakeholders to intervene in ensuring that all outstanding permits and agreements are expedited issued to give comfort and confidence to the partners.

“We are mindful of the various agreements and permits still hanging in governments and stakeholders offices like the TCA, the IA and the Lease Processes as amongst those hampering the progress and execution of this project. Your immediate intervention on the above will greatly give comfort to the partners to release full investment on this project,” said Shycal.

The Director of Energy in the Ministry of Energy, Joseph Kalowekamo, assured the investors that government will make sure that all agreements are finalized as soon as possible.

Kalowekamo also believe that ESCOM Limited will install the transmitter and connect electricity in time.

“Even the Ministry of Lands will also iron out the issue of land lease. This is the best project and it needs to end within the estimated period. We don’t need delays,” Kalowekamo said.

Rosemarry Mkandawire who is the Power Market Limited chief executive officer described the project as the only tool to deal with blackouts.

The project, which will generate power from the solar plant, will be fed directly into the national grid via direct connection point at Bwengu Sub-Station.

This project will be developed in single phase and full construction will begin later in the year.

Quantel Renewable Energy has partnered with Vidullanka plc of Sri Lanka and Frontier Energy of Denmark.

The three signed a Power Purchase Agreement with Malawi government in May, 2019 and was renewed in May, 2021.

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