Expansion project to double capacity of Wovwe hydro plant

By WahardBetha

Government says the US$12-million Wovwe Power Station expansion project will more than double production from the station’s installed capacity of 4.5 MW to 10MW.

Public Relations Officer for the Department of Energy in the Ministry of Natural Resources, Energy and Mining, Saidi Banda, told Mining &Trade Review that such a development will help minimize the gap between demand and supply of power in the country.

Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (Escom)   supplies power sourced from Wovwe to Karonga, Chitipa, Rumphi and some parts of Mzuzu.

Electricity Generation Company (EGENCO), which operates the power station, engaged German firm, Fichtner in May 2018 to conduct a feasibility study for the expansion project with funding from the German Government, which is expected to last 18-months.

“The project will improve plant reliability as well as   extend its life to ensure that the people in the designed areas have sufficient and reliable energy for their needs,” says Banda.

Wovwe offers a diversified source of power for Malawi as the rest of EGENCO’s power stations are located on the Shire River.

Banda explains that after completing the feasibility study, Government and EGENCO will identify an Engineering Procurement and Construction (EPC) contractor for the expansion project.

Wovwe is designed to either connect to the national power grid or operate on off grid to only supply power to northern region districts.

The power station is located in Karonga District on Wovwe River, upstream of Wovwe Rice Scheme.

Besides the ongoing Wovwe Power Project, EGENCO is in the middle of soliciting funds for other       impending power projects including 138MW Kholombidzo hydro-power project on Shire River to cost US$11.5-million and 180MW Songwe Hydropower Scheme to be constructed on Songwe River based on a cooperation agreement between Malawi and Tanzania.

Malawi is experiencing power supply shortages due to environmental problems including decreasing water levels of the Shire River which has seen EGENCO reducing its production from the installed capacity of 351MW to about 200MW against a pick demand of 500MW.

EGENCO’s other power stations include Nkula, which was the first major hydro power station in Malawi and   comprises of Nkula A with three machines, each rated 8MW, and Nkula B with five machines each rated 20MW.

There is also the 92.7MW Tedzani Hydro Power Station located on the Shire River, 7km downstream of Nkula Hydro Power stations and comprises of three Power Stations: Tedzani I, Tedzani II and Tedzani III.

The other power station is Kapichira which has an installed capacity of 129.6MW.

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