Electricity demand to rise 70% by 2015
The Ministry of Development Planning and Cooperation has said that electricity demand is expected to rise by 70% from the current 344 megawatts to 571 megawatts by 2015 and 854 megawatts by 2020. Currently the country only produces 282.5 megawatts, 95% of that from hydro-plants on the Shire River and the remaining 5% from Rukuru river.
The Ministry has said that development of Kapichila and procurement of stand-by generators should be undertaken in the short term to add 110 extra megawatts to bring supply to 392.5 megawatts at peak times. Minister Ken Lipenga said Millennium Challenge Account (MCA) resources will compliment efforts to increase generation in the medium to long term. (Malawi is to access $300 million grant from MCA to improve the energy sector). Only 7% of the population has access to electricity laving 93% to rely on firewood and charcoal.
There are two things missing from the report, unless if it was not reported.
1. Use of alternative sources of energy like solar, bio-gas and wind at least for things like office space/ factory lighting, water pumping and water heating. Also the use of natural methods of air cooling (especially in commercial structures) to reduce reliance on air conditioners.
2. Use of the ministry of information and civic education to educate people on using electricity sparingly, converting to energy saver bulbs, etc.
My greatest concern however is the use of stand-by generators. Malawi experiences regular fuel problems (like the current diesel shortage) and we intend to compound it further by buying large generators!