Malawi’s electricity supply sector has experienced significant shortfalls partly due to dependence on the hydropower stations on the Shire River and the periodic low flows on this river. Furthermore, Malawi has not yet been connected to the transmission system in the neighbouring utilities. In order increase security of supply and meet future growth, it was therefore seen as required to assess how best to develop domestic resources including solar, wind and biomass and coal as well as further hydropower development in combination with establishing interconnections to one or more of the other members of the Southern African Power Pool.
Norconsult, together with ECA, reviewed and updated previous load forecasts for Malawi and prepared an inventory of local energy sources and potential power generation projects. On this basis, alternative scenarios for future expansion of local generation resources were evaluated in combination with scenarios for new transmission links to neighbouring countries investigating benefits from trade (import and export) and improvement in security of supply. Transmission development plans to meet load growth and also connect future generation plants were developed in parallel for the different generation expansion plans considered. The study recommended a least-cost plan for expansion of the power supply system including interconnections to Mozambique early on.