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LET’S TAP INTO THE POTENTIAL IN RENEWABLE ENERGY, SAYS CEM

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As Malawi continues to endure its energy crisis, there are continued calls from stakeholders in the Renewable Energy industry for government to invest in renewables. The story of the crisis is a long one. In 2014, for example, the then Minister of Energy and Mining, Grain Malunga, honestly told the country to “get used to blackouts” after frequent power rationing.

Four years later, it remains the same, if not deepening further. Government has been promising advanced technologies that aim at commercially exploiting hydro, wind and solar power, but all to no avail. Coal has also been prioritized by government as a source of energy especially with the construction of the 300-megawatt coal-fired plant at Kammwamba in Neno Hills from a Chinese loan.

Such is a mix-up in the country’s energy policy that the only addition to the ailing grid and energy mix are diesel powered generators hired from South Africa. Weighing in on the situation, one of Malawi’s experts in energy, who is also Country Director for Community Energy Malawi (CEM), Edgar Kapiza Bayani, said that Malawi can do better in energy if it can tap into renewables. Speaking to the Nation newspaper of Wednesday, October 24, 2018, he said: “In the country, we have huge untapped potential in renewable sources, such as hydro, solar, wind and geothermal power as well as agricultural and municipal wastes.”

He further added: “Decentralized energy systems which are also mentioned in the newly-approved Malawi National Energy Policy and the Malawi Renewable Energy Strategy all outline options that can be pursued. It is just a matter of putting our house in order.”

Bayani was echoing the sentiments he expressed to the Nation newspaper of Thursday, October 11, 2018 on CEM’s support for ‘Big shift”, a global campaign to switch from fossil fuels to cleaner economies powered by renewable energy. The campaign is being implemented by CEM through Malawi for Green, Localized, Inclusive and Decentralized Energy (Malawi – GLIDE) project with support from Hivos under the Green and Inclusive Energy Malawi partnership.

Source: The Nation newspaper, Wednesday, October 24, 2018, pages 4 – 5 from the article, “Politicking With Energy: No New Power Struggle” written by James Chavula, an Energy Reporting award winning journalist with Climate Tracker.

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