Malawi puts into operation a new hydropower plant to reduce energy shortage
The Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (ESCOM) commissioned the 3.4 megawatt (MW) Muloza hydropower plant (HPP) in April, which will power 2,800 households in the cities of Phalombe, Mulanye and Thiolo, the south of the country. Launching of the HPP is part of the Malawian government's project of bringing 1 GW of new capacity by 2025.

Part of this project is construction of a 20 MW solar power plant, which began in the city of Salima, central Malawi, in November 2021. Commissioning of the facility will partially overcome the energy shortage caused by Cyclone Anna, which last year knocked out the 128-MW Kapichira, the country’s largest HPP. Construction of a power transmission line between Mozambique and Malawi, which began this April, is also aimed at meeting the energy demand.

Energy shortage is typical for most sub-Saharan Africa countries. According to the African Development Bank (ADB), over 640 million people on the continent have no access to electricity. The average per capita electricity consumption in the United States is 13, 000 KWh, and in Europe – 6,500 KWh, but it is only 180 KWh in the sub-Saharan Africa countries, according to the ADB data.

The countries of the region are trying to solve this problem through construction of renewable energy power plants isolated from the general grid: the capacity of such power plants increased four times (from 402 MW to 1675 MW) during 2012 to 2021, as it follows from the data of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA). Malawi is not an exception: the capacity of the isolated renewable energy power plants increased more than twenty times over that period (from 4 MW to 83 MW).

HPP Muloza belongs to the category of the so-called small HPPs gradually gaining popularity in the other world regions, including Russia. RusHydro is implementing small hydropower projects in the North Caucasus. In addition to the two Krasnogorsk HPPs with the total capacity of 49.8 MW to be commissioned in Karachay-Cherkessia by the end of 2022, the company is building the Cherekskaya HPP with the capacity of 23.4 MW (Kabardino-Balkaria) and the Bashennaya HPP with the capacity of 10 MW (Chechnya).  


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April 2022