UNDP hand over power station to Malawi Government

United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) on Monday handed over an off-grid power station to Malawi Government which connects more than 1000 households in Traditional Authority Sunganinzeru in Mulanje.

Minister of Energy, Ibrahim Matola received the grid on behalf of Malawi Government.

Speaking during the function, Matola said mini grids are useful assets in rural electrification and that government will focus on areas that are not connected to the national grid, either through Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (ESCOM) or the Malawi Rural Electrification Programme.

"With mini-grids which are off-grid, we can achieve the intended dream of reaching 1000 megawatts production.

“For example, this mini grid can generate 6.5 megawatts which can cover the whole of Mulanje. We have similar locations countrywide where we can produce energy be it hydro, geothermal or solar, rather than depending only on Shire River,” explained the minister, adding if that is done black outs will be history.

The minister, therefore, expressed pleasure to learn that the Mulanje grid was developed as one way of preserving Mulanje Mountain which was under heavy deforestation.

Earlier, UNDP Resident Representative, Shigeki Komatsubara described the project, which was driven by the community, as a success. 

(from right) Komatsubara and Matola inside the turbine room

“I hope that this example will be shared with our friends in other parts of the country so that all over the place we can start replicating this success story to enable more people access to electricity.

 “This energy project is giving communities different ways of helping themselves, through jobs creation and worth creation even in times of national black outs as they have their own system,” said Komatsubara.

He further said such investments have the capacity to invite more investment into the country.

Mulanje Energy Generation Agency currently produces about 200 kilowatts per hour. However, the feasibility study showed that it has the capacity to produce 6 megawatts from Lichenya River whose source is Mulanje Mountain.

UNDP funded the project to the tune of $ 500 000 (approx)