The Electricity Generation Company (Egenco) has said it is exploring possibilities of using geothermal energy in selected sites of the country.
Egenco acting Chief Executive Officer Maxo Chitawo said the firm intends to collaborate with the Geothermal Development Company (GDC) of Kenya to explore the viability of geothermal energy in Malawi.
Chitawo said Malawi boasts of 66 hot water springs, although not all of them possess the potential for geothermal energy production.
“We have signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the GDC to help us explore the potential of using geothermal energy. We have 66 sites of hot water springs across the country. We will only focus on those that have the potential,” he said.
According to Chitawo, at Chiweta, there is a spring where water comes from the ground at 86 degrees.
“We have another one at Kasitu and another one at Nkhotakota Boma; so, we are looking at exploring all those and see if they can give us geothermal energy to add to the national grid,” Chitawo said.
President of the Renewable Energy Industries Association of Malawi (Reiama) Sosten Chigalu emphasised the importance of diversifying energy sources, particularly in the face of climate change challenges.
“We cannot rely on one energy source because you do not know what climate change could do to that. We have seen cyclones hitting our major generation plants on the Shire River.
“We have to explore other passive alternative energy sources such as geothermal, wind, biogas, among others, to generate electricity and as well explore storage of that energy for a longer period of time,” he said.
In 2022, Malawi ranked fourth lowest in energy access in Africa, just ahead of South Sudan, Chad and Burundi, according to the World Bank.
In 2023, the country’s electricity access rate is estimated at 19 percent (representing a rise from 11 percent in 2018) with the expansion of the private sector-led, off-grid solar home system, while the percentage of access linked to the national grid has remained stagnant at about 12 percent.