Energy-deficient Malawi has disclosed plans to achieve 100 percent energy access by 2030. The ambition comes at a time the latest Energy Progress Report 2022 released by the World Bank has indicated that electricity access in Malawi stands at 15 percent against a population of 19 million people.

This is the lowest in the region and among the least five in Sub Sahara Africa. Of the population with access to electricity, 11 percent is grid-connected and four percent is off-grid access.

The Ministry of Energy has said 70 percent of the energy will come from off-grid sources while the remaining 30 percent will come from grid energy.

Chief Energy Officer in the Ministry of Energy, Thokozani Malunga disclosed this during an Off-Grid Energy Market Stakeholders’ Workshop in Lilongwe organized by the Renewable Energy Industries Association of Malawi (Reiama) in collaboration with the Ministry of Energy and Energising Development (EnDev) Malawi – GIZ.

“The Government of Malawi in its National Electrification Strategy considers off-grid energy options as the cost-effective way of electrifying areas which are 10 km or farther from the national grid infrastructure.

“But in light of the current power blackouts and presence of low-income households located even in the areas where the grid has already reached, these off-grid energy options become an important means of electrification for the entire nation at large,” Malunga said.

He observed that promoting SMEs in the off-grid energy market is very important as they have a huge task in helping the government reach out to the 70 percent of Malawi households with off-grid energy options and ensure the sustainability of the supply of these off-grid energy options to end users through their favorable business models.

According to Malunga, so far the Malawi Government has waived duty on off-grid renewable energy options to drive affordability.

Malunga said the ministry hopes that those selling these off-grid options would ensure that the tax waivers trickle down to the consumers so that they access these energy options at relatively affordable prices.

“The Ministry of Energy with funding from the World Bank is implementing Malawi Electricity Access Project which, among others, will provide loans and result-based grants to off-grid solar companies across Malawi to address capital finance issues the off-grid Solar companies are facing in Malawi.

“The project wants the off-grid solar companies to distribute 200, 000 solar home systems to rural households in Malawi. The project will also offer technical assistance on issues of standardization and awareness of off-grid solar options,” he said.

Reiama President Saustain Chigalu said the huge energy gap provides enormous opportunities for entrepreneurs and investors to provide sustainable energy solutions to the population for both domestic and productive uses of energy.

Chigalu said while most people like to complain, an entrepreneur sees an opportunity and provides a solution to solve people’s problems.

“Despite the efforts being made to reform the energy sector in Malawi, the sector is characterized by under regulation, poor governance, poor quality products, and services delivered to end users, inconsistent application of the fiscal incentives, inaccessible and exorbitant financing,” Chigalu said.

He called upon all stakeholders in the energy sector to work towards a transparent and efficient sector for the achievement of both national and global goals.

“ Reiama envisions a renewable energy sector that has licensed players, quality products and services offered to end users, and affordable financing made available to entrepreneurs.

“I would like to encourage players to join REIAMA so that together we can achieve great things,” Chigalu said


SOURCE: The Times

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