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Infrastructure Development

The Infrastructure Development Project will rehabilitate, upgrade and modernize ESCOM’s generation, transmission and distribution assets in most urgent need of repair, in order to preserve existing generation, improve the capability of the transmission system, and increase the efficiency and sustainability of hydropower generation. 

To facilitate the development and implementation of the Program, MCC is providing support for the Government’s ability to identify and prioritize investments in the sector by developing an integrated resource plan. MCC Funding will support significant investments in the power system infrastructure to preserve generation, stabilize and modernize the transmission and distribution network.

The Infrastructure Development Activity is only viable, technically and economically, if the Government and ESCOM maintain current generation assets and expand the generation capacity of the power system. Under the Infrastructure Development Activity, the Government will invest in the existing generation by rehabilitating  the Nkula A hydro power station .  

Additionally, the Government will continue to seek to attract sustainable investment from the private sector and other donors to add significant amounts of new generation to the system. It is expected that by the end of the Compact Term, the Infrastructure Development Activity, together with the Government’s commitment to complete construction of Kapichira II, will result in increases in generation capacity (from 286 MW to approximately 356 MW), network throughput capacity (from 260 MW to approximately 410 MW) and distribution capacity (from 868 MVA to approximately 1,078 MVA), and a reduction of total system losses from 20-25% to 18%.

Sub-Activities under the Infrastructure Development Project

(i)Nkula A Refurbishment Sub-Activity:Compact Funding will support the refurbishment of the Nkula A hydropower plant, with the objective of improving the availability of power in Malawi by reducing outages caused by the condition of the assets, and maximizing power output from Nkula A.  The refurbishment will improve the reliability of the plant, extend its useful life, and thereby avoid a partial or total failure of the plant.  

(ii) Transmission Network Upgrade Sub-Activity:  This is designed to upgrade the backbone of Malawi’s transmission network to:  

  • improve the quality and reliability of supply in the northern, central, and southern regions of the country;
  • increase the capacity to move power from the south, where 98% of Malawi’s power is currently generated, to the central and northern regions; 
  • reduce technical losses on transmission lines; and,
  • provide a secure transmission link between the southern and central regions.  

MCC Funding will support the following investments under this Sub-Activity:

  • the 400 kV power line (the transmission “backbone” of the Malawi power system) from Phombeya to Lilongwe, which covers the southern and central regions of Malawi; and,
  • the132kV line parallel to existing 66kV and 33kV lines from Chintheche to Luwinga and from Luwinga to Bwengu in the northern region. 

(iii) Transmission and Distribution Upgrade, Expansion, and Rehabilitation Sub-Activity

These investments will enhance Malawi’s power network. MCC Funding will support the following measures:

  • upgrading (up-rating) of existing network connections (33kV, 11kV);
  • extension of existing substations (including 66kV); 
  • up-rating of transformers in existing substations;
  • development of new substations;
  • installation of improved protection systems;
  • provision of new network extensions and connections; and
  • installation of new controls and communication systems (SCADA).