By Bester Kayaye
The Malawi government and its development partners have signed a binding Relationship Agreement that will see the completion of 350MW Mpatamanga Hydropower project.
The power project to be constructed at Mpatamanga gouge on Shire River is expected to have two power plants – a 309MW Peaking Plant at the Main Dam and a 41MW Base Power Plant at the Regulating Dam.
The development partners that include; World Bank’s International Finance Corporation (IFC), Scatec ASA’s Hydropower Joint Venture, and Électricité de France (EDF) have signed the Relationship Agreement, under Malawi’s Public-Private Partnership (PPP) scheme.
The PPP model will see finalization of procurement and selection processes undertaken by government for a private partner and will officially award the role of project sponsor and lead developer to the Scatec and EDF Consortium.
Once completed, the project is expected to reduce energy deficit in the country as the 309MW Peaking Plant with its 261 million cubic metres water reservoir is designed to provide much needed energy during peak demand hours of the day and overall grid stability with its ability to ramp up/down production to suit actual demand.
Speaking at the agreement signing ceremony held at Sunbird Capital Hotel in Lilongwe, Minister of Energy Ibrahim Matola explained that government is committed in the development and implementation of the flagship Project which doubles the installed hydropower capacity in Malawi.
Matola said; “The 350MW Mapatamanga Peaking Hydropower Project will improve the power supply security, provide opportunities for increased renewable energy generation capacity in the country and contribute to the controlling of the flow of the Shire River downstream the power plant. The government is indebted to its partners in achieving this milestone which is a major step in the development of this Project.”
Eastern Africa Regional Director for IFC Jumoke Jagun-Dokunmu asserted the finance corporation’s commitment in helping government to increase access to affordable clean energy across the country.
He said: “IFC supports the Government of Malawi’s goal to accelerate access to affordable clean energy. The Mpatamanga Peaking Hydropower Plant has the potential to grow Malawi’s electricity infrastructure and connect thousands of rural and remote households while also spurring green, inclusive, and resilient growth in the country.”
Scatec CEO Terje Pilskog also said; “This is a significant development in the realization of the Mpatamanga Project. We are excited to build on our hydro portfolio in Africa – and are proud to have finalized development plans alongside our partners. The country of Malawi will receive a significant investment into its power sector, which in turn will stand to benefit a major portion of the nation’s population. We look forward to reaching further development milestones for this project – and contributing to Africa’s renewable energy journey,”
In the project, Malawi government has 30% shareholding, the IFC 15% while Scatec and EDF have joint majority shareholding of 55%.
The World Bank also supported the development of the project through a Project Preparatory Advance facility while United States Agency for International Development (USAID) is supporting the development of the project through the Southern Africa Energy Program (SAEP), a Power Africa initiative with a goal to add at least 30,000 MW of new electricity generation capacity and 60 million connections by 2030.