By Yamikani Yapuwa, MANA
Minister of Energy Atupele Muluzi Thursday said Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (ESCOM) would continue using generators to compliment hydro powered electricity most especially during pick period.
Muluzi disclosed this in Blantyre when he visited ESCOM’s Chichiri Power Station to appreciate how ESCOM plans to ensure stable supply of electricity as well as see the challenges they are encountering.
“We were expecting approximately between 60 and 100 Mega Watts from two Independent Power Producers (IPP’s) coming online around April, 2020. One of those is JCM whose operation would have reduced the dependent on diesel generated power especially during pick hours.
“However, because of the Coronavirus, and the fact that we have a global slowdown in term of travel and activities, it means we have to push our timelines forward.
“The two IPP’s are at a very advanced stage but establishment of their solar powered plants have halted because of the Coronavirus situation,” he explained.
Muluzi said that there was no initial timeline at which ESCOM would stop using the generators as it all depends on when the Coronavirus situation ends.
“When all this is done, we will give the IPP’s time to finalise putting together their solar powered plants,” he said.
Muluzi said government was finding ways on how they could expedite the interconnection between Malawi and Zambia as having that would reduce the dependency on diesel gensets especially for peaking periods.
In 2017, Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (Escom) leased 84 gensets from Aggreko to produce 78MW for six hours each day, contributing about 10 per cent of power to the national grid.
In 2019, former Minister of Natural Resources, Energy and Mines Binton Kutsaira said that government would renew the Aggreko Power Solutions Limited diesel-powered generators contract at its expiry in January 2020 because the 78-megawatts (MW) capacity gensets had stabilised power supply.
He indicated that the generators contract could be terminated when Malawi finalises its interconnection deal with Zambia, saying China has committed to fund US$30 million to connect Chipata in Zambia and Nkhoma in Lilongwe, Malawi.