Establishment of solar plants halted by coronavirus – Muluzi

Minister of Energy Atupele Muluzi says the establishment of solar powered plants has been delayed due to the coronavirus outbreak, forcing Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (ESCOM) to continue using generators during peak period.

Muluzi made the remarks in Blantyre on Thursday when he visited ESCOM’s Chichiri Power Station.

He told Malawi News Agency that ESCOM was expecting approximately between 60 and 100 MegaWatts from two Independent Power Producers (IPPs) by April this year.

According to Muluzi, one of the IPPs, JCM, would have reduced ESCOM’s dependence on diesel generated power especially during peak 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 IPPs are at a very advanced stage but establishment of their solar powered plants have halted because of the Coronavirus situation,” he explained.

The minister added that when the coronavirus pandemic ends, the IPPs will be given time to finalise establishments of their solar powered plants.

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.

Currently, Malawians are experiencing about 5 hours of power outage each day due to a faulty machine at Kapichira Hydropower station.

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