Minister of Energy Ibrahim Matola has emphasized the importance for the energy sector to be diversified both in sources and places if the country is to have sustainable development.
Matola made the remarks on Thursday during the opening of the 2023 National Energy conference in Salima discussed under the theme: “Energy Diversification for Sustainable Development”.
He said that Cyclone Ana and Freddy brought the power sector to its knees because the power sector is concentrated on Shire River and is hydro.
“We therefore have to indeed diversify our energy sector so that it is sustainable and secure,” he said.
He said the National Energy Policy of 2018 and Independent Power Producer (IPP) Framework have created a conducive regulatory environment for the private sector to effectively participate in the Malawi energy sector.
According to him, Malawi’s access to electricity remains low at 19 per cent with 42 per cent urban and five per cent rural according to the latest figures from the World Bank.
“This is not a welcome development as far as energy sector development is concerned, calling upon participants to come up with actionable strategies that will make Malawi attain sustainable energy for all goals by 2030.
He said access to electricity is very important and that the nation should not only depend on the government for electrification in rural areas because there are certain areas which are difficult to access but that can happen when there is an energy mix like off-grid solutions.
He explained that government has launched and witnessed the JCM Power in Salima, Golomoti, Serengeti in Nkhotakota, Malawi-Mozambique Interconnector, and another solar power which is being planned to be constructed by Press Corporation and the newly established Mpatamanga Hydro Power Project.
Matola added that the government is also working with EGENCO and other independent power producers to explore other sources and the north.
In his remarks, Renewable Energy Industries Association of Malawi (REIAMA) President,Sousten Chigalu, said despite some challenges, the country is doing well in renewable energy.
“Renewable energy has increased in the country especially when the government started removing taxes on renewable energy products,” he said.
Latest World Bank report indicates that if Malawi is to achieve Sustainable Development Goals, the country needs to focus more on renewable energy, more particularly on off-grid solar.
Chigalu there appealed to the government to continue and be consistent on the incentives on renewable energy products because they are the ones used by people in rural areas in health