2. Notes

Summary of some key points from the above references, but bear in mind some of this data is from a few years ago

  1. Inadequate energy supply is one of the major problems confronting Malawi and limiting its social, economic and industrial development
  2. 85% of the population live in rural areas and has access only to wood and paraffin as major energy resources
  3. Overall electrification rate in Malawi is 10%, with 37% of the urban population and only 2% of the rural population having access to electricity
  4. Electricity demand has been growing consistently at 6-8% per annum
  5. System is greatly strained, frequency of blackouts increasing, constraining industrial production and socioeconomic services and deterring foreign investment
  6. Total installed capacity for electricity generation as at March 2015 is 430 MW, in which 80% is contributed by ESCOM and 20% by the private sector
  7. Theoretical hydro potential of 1670 MW and the average power generation of 15 000 GWh/year (feasible hydro capacity has been estimated at 6,000 GWh/year)
  8. Malawi also has huge untapped small hydropower potential (capacities <10 MW) 
  9. Gross theoretical small hydro potential of the country is 150 MW, out of which 4.5 MW of the economically feasible potential has been developed
  10. Malawi receives about 2138 to 3087 hours of sunshine and 2133 kWh/m2/year, annual daily mean global solar radiation is about 5.86 kWh/m2/day, equivalent to 250 million tonnes of oil equivalent
  11. Considering that many parts of the country receive 8 to 12 hours of sunshine per day of 244 W/m2, the potential for using solar for electricity generation is very high
  12. Total available solar energy potential over the total geographical area (i.e. 94,280 km2), of Malawi is calculated to be 356,285 GWh/year (of course that would leave no space to live on!)
  13. About 10% of households are supplied with electricity from the national grid, but access goes beyond the grid power being available but also affordable. The MAREP effort could have easily yielded 20 to 25% access to grid electricity if the rural population was also economically empowered to afford paying for upfront costs of wiring, inspection and connection. This calls for an innovative model for rural energy access beyond the grid extension
  14. Transmission losses continue to be amongst the highest in the world, and reducing losses or improving transmission efficiency is the main concern in the electric power sector
  15. (From 2012) Investing by the private sector in electricity generation remains a challenge due to the government subsidy provided to ESCOM in electricity generation which gives unfair advantage to ESCOM over any would be investors hence ESCOM has remained the sole electricity generation company to date
  16. As of 2018 ESCOM has been split with the establishment of the Electricity Generation Company of Malawi (EGENCO). The restructuring of Malawi’s power market is underway, with strong investor interest and political will for Independent Power Producers (IPPs) to enter the market.
  17. Egenco was established when the Electricity Supply Commission of Malawi (ESCOM), hitherto the electricity monopoly in the country, was split, with Egenco assuming the role of electricity generation, and ESCOM retaining the roles of bulk purchase, transmission and distribution.
  18. UK's feed-in-tariff (which ended 03/2019) used to pay 5.3p/kWh for independent energy producers (initially started as high as 41p/kWh on 20 year contracts, but after the government ended up with a massive bill, they slowly lowered it to around 5p/kWh)
  19. From 01/2020 the UK will have a new Smart Export Guarantee as a replacement to the feed-in-tariff, and initial indications are that it will also be around 5p/kWh
  20. According to ESCOM's tariff document, current average purchase price from energy suppliers is 49Mk/kWh = 5.5p/kWh, which is similar to the UK feed-in-tariffs and UK wholesale electricity price
  21. UK's solar radiation is between 750-1100 kWh/m2/year, which is equivalent to 86-126W, so less than 50% of Malawi's apparent 244W average

More from James