Malawi’s demand for energy to be doubled by 2015 -Minister

Malawi’s demand for energy has been projected at 750 megawatts by 2015 and more than 1000 megawatts by 2020, Minister of Energy Ibrahim Matola said.

Speaking during the 2nd International Power Conference  sponsored by Standard Bank held in the capital Lilongwe on Tuesday, he said, the demand is coming from various potential mining and other investments activities which are stranded because of lack of power.

“Electricity remains the key to economic growth and development of any economy. Industrial, domestic and social sectors need reliable and affordable electricity all the time yet for our country electricity supply problems still do exist mostly because they are structural in nature and need reforms,” he said.

Currently the power generation capacity in Malawi is at 287 megawatts while the peak demand is estimated at 350 megawatts at is still growing.

Matola: More energy demand
Matola: More energy demand

He added that Malawi is rich in various sources of power such as hydro, thermo, solar and wind but for several years it has been unable to exploit thereby experiencing a deficit in electric power as demand for it exceeds its supply.

The country will add 64 megawatts to the installed capacity and significantly reduce the capacity deficits following the completion and commissioning of Kapichira II in December.

“The fact that no other plant is currenlty under construction, this means that in the next four to five years  our capacity will remain at 351 megawatts. We need an energy sector investment that ensures that we increase capacity every five years,” he observed.

The Minister said it is imperative that Malawi strives to speed up key generation and transmission projects that will enable Malawians to enjoy adequate power supply.

African Development Bank (AfDB) Country Manager Andrew Mwawa said  lack of reliable and affordable power supply remains a key binding constraint for economic and social development in Malawi.

“We need not to be reminded of the challenges we face in the power sector and the implications for the expanded economic activity,”he said.

In the financing of power operations, he said, AfDB is financing Kholombidzo Hydro-electric power plant, plan to cofinance the regional Malawi-Mozambique Power Interconnection project, supporting studies for Songwe River Basin Hydro Plant between Malawi and Tanzania which will connect to Southern Africa Power Pool (SAPP) and the East African Network respectively thereby facilitating the goal of regional intergration.

The bank is also planning to support initiatives in the renewable energy and also considering possibilities to finance independent power producers.

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