Electricity Generation of Malawi (EGENCO) has sponsored the Renewable Energy Industries of Malawi (REIAMA) 2023 conference with K3 million, while emphasizing that the company cannot separate itself from REIAMA as its operations and services are from renewable energy resources.
Speaking at the presentation of the support in Blantyre, acting Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Dr. Maxon Chitawo emphasized that to EGENCO, the importance of the energy conference scheduled for Thursday to Friday (October 26-27) in Salima, “cannot be overemphasized”.
“Over 90% of EGENCO’s electricity is hydro based, which is renewable resource,” he said. “We then have the solar power plants that we have at Likoma and Chizumulu Islands.
“In addition to this — to demonstrate our seriousness in the renewable energy space, we will shortly be launching the construction of 10 megawatt (MW) solar plant at Nanjoka in Salima,” Chitawo said, adding that they already secured the land to put up 50MW that will be developed in phases.
He also disclosed that they are working on installing a 30MW battery energy storage system (BESS) to be cascaded in all power stations, whose batteries would be powered at night so that they should supplement power during peak hours of morning, lunch hour and in the evening.
“Our technical team has already set the wheels in motion to develop the system,” he said. “All these are renewables and it is therefore impossible to separate us at EGENCO from REIAMA.
“Frankly speaking, we consider our Malawi nation and ourselves as champions of renewable energy. This is even true across the region where other country’s use other forms of energy,” he said.
Chitawo, who before taking up the CEO position in acting capacity was director of operations, said he has always been a champion of renewable energy development in the country since 2004 and was at one point a Board member of REIAMA serving as in the research committee.
“That is why we could not hesitate at taking up this opportunity to support the REIAMA 2023 energy conference,” he said, adding that on top of the K3 million sponsorship, EGENCO is also paying for 5 of its staff members as delegates.
“Our relationship with REIAMA is very good and we share the values and ideals that where possible, people and industries must use renewable energy for their daily needs.
“Here in Malawi, we have all seen, especially us in EGENCO, first hand devastating effects of climate change. We have seen how cyclones and droughts have wreaked havoc on power generation in particular and our societies in general.”
Chitawo emphasised that some of the disasters being experienced, not just in Malawi but elsewhere, are directly linked to the side effects of continuous use of non-renewable energies from fossil fuel across the globe — thus EGENCO felt it duty bound that “any effort that is aimed at encouraging use of renewable energy is fully supported because it speaks volumes that we have as a company”.
The conference’s theme is: ‘Energy Diversification for Sustainable Development’, and Chitawo said it speaks to EGENCO’s core values, saying: “At the centre of our generation philosophy is sustainability — thus our moto; Generating Power for Generations’.
“It means we want to always generate electricity that is reliable and adequate for the current population while ensuring that future generations can also enjoy the resources we have after we are all gone.”
As a way forward, the acting CEO emphasized that while they aim at adding more megawatts of power to the national grid, they are maximizing the use of renewable energy resources — citing ongoing hydro projects at Mpatamanga along Shire River and the expansion of Wovwe in the North from its current 4.5MW to 9MW.
He also disclosed that they are in a process of developing new power stations away from the Shire River prone to many climate change challenges. Potential sites for these projects have already been identified on rivers in the Central and Northern Regions,.
“Realisation of these projects will help us to produce adequate electricity to boost industrialization as per the MW2063 vision.
“I would like to assure REIAMA and all partners that we will continue to work together to promote the use of renewable and sustainable energy to meet the daily energy needs for our dear nation.”
In his vote of thanks, REIAMA Board chairperson, Soustain Chigalu said they have been hosting these conferences for the past 23 years, which they consider as all-important as they give them a platform to take stock of what they have achieved and where they could have done better.
He also emphasized on the need to diversify using renewable energy resources, which the country has at EGENCO’s disposal.
He cited that Malawians are the least connected people to energy in Africa and globally, saying there is a lot of work to meet the sustainable development goals (SDG) for universal access to energy — and renewable resources being the top priority.
He applauded EGENCO and appealed for more action in considering renewable resources and as the way forward they advocated for removal of taxes on all renewable energy products.
REIAMA was established in 1999 with the explicit aim of promoting renewable energy technologies in a sustainable manner to the satisfaction of consumers in Malawi.
It draws its membership from individuals and companies who are involved in the production, supply, importation, exportation, installation and servicing of renewable energy technologies in Malawi.
In addition, REIAMA also draws membership from organisations, individuals, projects and programs who have sufficient and verifiable interest in the promotion, production, supply, importation, exportation, installation and servicing of the country’s renewable energy technologies.