It is common knowledge that energy use and economic growth go hand in hand, economic growth leads to job opportunities. In view of the aforesaid fact, President Lazarus Chakwera, having promised Malawians 1 million jobs within a year, is optimistic that his dream will materialize following the commissioning of the 19.1MW Tedzani IV Hydro Power Station which an energy expert has described as a step towards easing power woes.
Chakwera commissioned the $56 million (about K44.3 billion) Tedzani IV Project financed with $52 million grant from Japanese International Cooperation Agency (Jica) and $4.8 million from Electricity Generation Company (Egenco) on Tuesday.
In his address, the President underlined the importance and need to improve electricity generation, saying electricity is critical to the country’s vision to create jobs and wealth as well as achieve food security.
He acknowledged that Malawi has for long suffered power shortages; hence, the country is not in a position to wait any longer.
“If we do not get things right in our power supply service, it will have a knock-on effect on our vision to create jobs, create wealth and create food security
“That is why I identified and called for investments in the energy sector as one of my administration’s accelerators towards that vision,” Chakwera said as quoted by The Nation.
While expressing gratitude for the successful completion of the project, the financiers’ representative Japanese Ambassador Satochi Iwakiri conquered with the Malawi leader, saying improving electricity generation is a step towards development of the nation.
According to energy expert Grain Malunga, Malawi now faces a 358 megawatts (MW) power generation deficit following the commissioning of the 19.1MW Tedzani IV Hydro Power Station which an energy expert has described as a step towards easing power woes.
The country’s current electricity demand is projected at about 800MW; hence, with Egenco’s total installed generation capacity standing at 441.95MW, there is a gap of about 358MW.
Malunga advised the Tonse Alliance government to give the energy sector a priority so as to keep pace with industrialisation and economic development.
“We appreciate that efforts are there, but we need to speed them up. Hydro power generation is the best way out of our energy woes because it is cheap, reliable and efficient. We, thus, need to make meaningful investments in this sector.
“We should not rely on the interconnector [with Mozambique] because the whole of Southern Africa is struggling. We have our resources and we need to develop them,” he said.
The newly commissioned plant, an expansion of Tedzani Hydro Electricity Power Station, has increased Egenco’s generation capacity to 442MW.
It has also come at a time the country is facing power challenges with data showing that only 11 percent of the population is connected to the national grid.
Currently, hydropower is the main source of electricity in Malawi generating nearly 90 percent of the power. Hydro power plants generate 390.55MW while 51.4MW is from thermal power plants.
Following the commissioning of Tedzani IV, the generation capacity of Tedzani Power Stations now stand at 120MW.
Besides Tedzani Power Station, Egenco also operates Nkula A and B hydro power stations with a combined generation capacity of 122MW, Kapichira I and II with a total generation capacity of 129.6MW, but currently generates 32.4MW each and Wovwe Power Station in Karonga which generates 4.5MW.