By William Kumwembe:
Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (Escom) Thursday signed a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with Phanes Energy Limited that could add 21 megawatts (mw) to the national power grid by July 2019.
The pact would see the Dubai-based firm putting up a solar powered electricity generation plant in Nkhotakota District.
The solar plant would be mounted at a 60-hectare piece of land currently under development in the district.
The generated power would fit into the national power grid through power infrastructure built under the $350.7 million (about K257 billion) energy compact through the Millennium Challenge Corporation.
The infrastructure has helped to modernise electricity transmission and distribution infrastructure in the country.
Speaking after signing the agreement, Escom Chief Executive Officer, Alexion Chiwaya, said the move is a significant step on the path to getting sustainable energy mix.
“We are on the right track to ensure that we achieve our goal of dealing away with power outages,” Chiwaya said.
He said, to date, Escom has signed PPAs with a number of IPPs and some have started selling power.
Phanse Group Head of Project Development, Alessandro Ortu, said the firm targets July 2019 to start supplying power to the national grid.
“The plan is to clear the site and prepare for construction. We target to start supplying electricity in four or five months,” Ortu said.
Malawi has been grappling with persistent power supply challenges because of reduced water levels in Shire River, the main source of hydro power generation.
Electricity generation capacity by State-owned Electricity Generation Company currently hovers between 230mw and 250mw which is below aggregate national demand.
Of this, 71mw is produced from government-hired diesel-powered generators.