Fare Thee Well Blackouts: APM Opens 60 Megawatts Solar Plant Construction

APM being briefed about the project

President Professor Peter Mutharika has said that policies and steps which his government has taken to allow energy mix and private sector to participate in power generation will end power blackouts in the near future.

Mutharika was speaking on Monday when he launched the construction of 60 megawatts solar plant by JCM Matswana Solar Energy at Kanzimbe in Salima.

JCM is expected to sell the 60 megawatts to Escom after they have concluded a power purchase agreement.

“I am concerned with the problems with the energy sector because it is affecting everything. This is why my government is working hard to ensure that more investments in the sector are done,” said Mutharika.

Mutharika said that the new solar plant which will add 60 megawatts to the national grid is one step towards ending black outs.

“The problem with the energy sector is due to ignorance that the previous governments have given the sector in the last 50 years, but our government has lined up a number of investments some which will involve the private sector while others will be Public Private
Partnership,’ said Mutharika.

He said that among the projects which seek to give short, medium and long term solutions to the energy woes will include wind energy am the Kamwamba coal power.

The president appealed to people to be patient as such projects take long time to complete.

Minister of Energy, Mines and Natural Resources , Aggrey Masi said over dependence on Shire River as a source of hydroelectricity and lack of plans for developing the energy sector have contributed heavily to the current black outs.

“The current administration has worked hard to ensure that these problems are a story of the past and the major undertaking towards boosting the sector were the review of energy policy where among others we have opened for energy mix and allowed the private
sector to invest in energy,” said Masi

JCM Matswana is the first private company to invest in solar energy.

“Our new energy policy will allow more players in the sector who will produce energy from various sources,” said Masi.

Masi said that government come up with short, medium and long term measures to end blackouts.

“The short term measure is the use of generators, and power purchase from Mozambique and Zambia, while medium term includes the completion of Kamwamba and Kapatamanga electricity sites and the long-term measure will include discussion
with Mozambique, Zambia and Tanzania on interconnection,” said Masi.

JCM Power Malawi Country Director, Phylip Leferink said that development of energy is important for the country as it affects growth of other sectors.

Leferink thanked Mutharika for the new energy policy which is allowing private operators to invest in the sector.

‘We are thankful that the country has created an enabling environment for investors to invest in the sector good for investors and it so good that we have the power purchase agreement with Escom has been concluded,” said Leferink.

Leferick also asked President Mutharika to continue supporting the JCM as it implements the project.

“We promise to work with speed and to complete it in the soonest time. My appeal is for the president to continue supporting the project as we conclude it,” said Leferink.
MANA/WRM/DM

Part of the mammoth crowd that witnessed the event

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