By Wahard Betha
Minister of Natural Resources, Energy and Mining Bintony Kutsaira has stressed the need for the Southern Africa Power Pool (SAPP) member states to develop more power generation projects to ensure that the region has adequate power to support economic development.
Kutsaira made the remarks when he officially launched this year’s 54th SAPP meetings in Lilongwe.
He said the generation of adequate power can spearhead development projects that help in boosting economies in the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) member states where power shortfalls are rampant.
He said: “In order to keep pace with developments taking place in our countries, it is incumbent upon us, as countries, to invest in electricity supply infrastructure more-so to avoid power deficits in future.”
“The SADC region’s economies are continuing to grow in fulfilment of the SADC industrialisation thrust and hence the region needs more power.”
Kutsaira encouraged experts in the energy sector to continue applying their efforts to harness solutions that will keep the lights on, commerce ticking, industry running and agriculture flourishing even in these challenging environments.
He stressed that electricity remains one of the critical driving forces for economic development and that the experts are at the centre of making it work.
Kutsaira urged SAPP to put in place enough measures to attract independent power producers (IPPs) to invest in the region.
He said it is a welcome development that SAPP already started enticing IPPs through revising membership categories to allow IPPs to participate in electricity trading in SAPP.
“I, therefore, urge you, SAPP member states, to continue to cooperate with these new players so that together you pursue the goal of providing reliable, sustainable and affordable power to all our citizens in the SADC Region,” he said.
Kutsaira also said Malawi is looking forward to becoming a beneficiary of SAPP through the Mozambique-Malawi Power Interconnector Project which is on course.
ESCOM CEO Alexon Chiwaya said Malawi is ready for the interconnector having improved its transmission and distribution infrastructure using financing from the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) of the US Government.
“Through the MCC Malawi Compact, we recorded an improvement in the system infrastructure including: construction of 200MVA 400/132kV Phombeya and Nkhoma Substations and; a 400kV transmission line from Phombeya to Nkhoma,” said Chiwaya.
The Phombeya Substation will be the landing point for the 400kV Mozambique-Malawi Interconnection whilst the Nkhoma Substation will be the landing point for the 400kV Zambia-Malawi Interconnection.
He also thanked the World Bank for the financial support rendered through the Energy Sector Support Project (ESSP) which greatly assisted in the reinforcement of the transmission and distribution networks.
SAPP has nine interconnected countries, with a commitment to connect the remaining three member countries, namely Angola, Tanzania and Malawi.