Malawi and Mozambique have secured 20 million euro (about K15 billion) from multilateral lending institutions for the implementation of the power Interconnection project, a move expected to help solve energy woes facing the county.
The two countries have jointly secured financing for the project from the World Bank, KfW and the Norwegian Trust Fund.
Through the project Malawi will be able to tap power from the Southern Africa Power Pool (Sapp).
According to the Department of Energy Affairs spokesperson Saidi Jabu, the scope of the project is to interconnect Mozambique and Malawi Power Systems at 400 kilovolts (kV) through a transmission line to be constructed from Matambo Substation in Tete Province in Mozambique to Phombeya Substation in Balaka District in Malawi.
Jabu said the initial phase will see Malawi import 50 megawatts (MW) and that currently government is working to identify a contractor who will implement the project with 2021 as deadline.
“Tendering for the construction contracts is expected to start this month [February] and be awarded by November/December this year. The contract for a Tender Agent was approved by the Mozambique government in October 2018 and signed by Electricidade de Mocambique [EDM]—the utility company of Mozambique.
“Construction will take two years and is expected to be completed in 2021. Malawi intends to initially import 50MW of power from Mozambique with a possibility of increasing in future. All the feasibility studies for the Malawi-Mozambique interconnector were completed and found the project viable.”
Commenting on the development, chairperson of the parliamentary Committee on Natural Resources, Energy and Mining Victor Musowa hailed the two governments for finally agreeing on the project, saying it is an opportunity for Malawi to attract more investors in the country as power shortages are a huge hindrance to doing business.
“Malawi has missed a lot of opportunities in the past where a similar interconnection project failed to take off. The two governments should work together to identify a credible contractor who is going to deliver high standard work.
“This is a dream project for Malawi as it will deliver unlimited electricity [from the power pool—Sapp]. What it means is that investors will be attracted to Malawi, those that have been unable to commence projects due to power challenges will now consider their stand,” he said.
In working towards solving the power problems Jabu said in the short term, the country is importing at distribution level 3MW power from Mozambique through Mandimba to Mangochi with a potential to increase the importation to 10MW.
The 2010 power agreement was amended in January 2013. The two countries, agreed to import and export electricity to each other. Previously, Malawi had agreed to only import electricity from but not export to Mozambique.
Malawi recently also signed a power supply agreement with Zambia for importation of 20MW through Chipata and Mchinji.Currently, Malawi generates about 250MW while the suppressed demand is 351MW. The unmet electricity need does not account for the majority of Malawians who are not yet connected to the electricity grid