China to build $500m, 1 000 MW plant in Malawi

China Gezhouba Group plans to build a $500-million, 1 000 MW thermal plant in Malawi, which suffers from frequent power shortages, the Minister of Energy and Mining said on Thursday.

“Construction of the power plant, which is expected to cost around $500-million, is scheduled to start next year and will be completed between 2014 and 2015,” Cassim Chilumpha told Reuters.

Malawi’s hydro power plants produce a total of about 280 MW per day, compared with rising demand of around 300 MW, which has resulted in daily power cuts costing the country an estimated $215-million per year in lost output.

The coal-fired plant will be built in the central province along a railway line Brazil’s Vale is rehabilitating to transport coal from Mozambique via Malawi to the ports at the coast. Part of that coal will be used to fire the plant.

In 2010, Malawi had 63 days of power outages, the worst out of 24 sub-Saharan countries.

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