UNDP Hands Over Bondo Mini Grid to Malawi Government
The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) on Monday officially handed over a 220 kilowatts Bondo Mini Grid to the government of Malawi.
The UNDP has been developing the mini grid that has three power houses through Mulanje Energy Generation Agency (MEGA) since 2015.
UNDP Resident Representative Shigeki Komatsubara said mini grids are catalysts for job and business creation in rural communities.
“We commend MEGA to continue expanding even beyond this partnership to serve this community and to set an example for other mini grid operators across the country,” said Komatsubara.
Komatsubara said UNDP started working with MEGA through Increasing Access to Clean and Affordable Decentralized Energy Services in Selected Vulnerable Areas of Malawi project which ran from 2015 – 2019 and he said this support also continued into the successor project of Access to Clean and Renewable Energy from 2020 up to 2023).
“This support came in monetary form to the tune of USD 500,000 which provided equipment and technical assistance,” said the UNDP Resident Representative.
Minister of Energy Ibrahim Matola says government is thriving to develop fifty mini grids across the country by 2030 as part of its strategy to increase production of electricity from three hundred to one thousand megawatts.
“Unlike major hydro power schemes, development of these mini grids only take between six months to one year and they do not require a lot of money, so we really need to have them in different parts of the country,” said Matola.
The Minister said he was impressed to see local communities opening various electricity driven businesses like barbershops, welding shops and maize mills in Bondo area.
“Besides, MEGA is also supplying electricity to schools, health facilities and even churches within the area and this cannot go unappreciated,” said Matola
MEGA Project Coordinator Arnold Kadziponye said currently they are producing 220 kilowatts but he said they are expecting to expand the production to 6.5 megawatts by 2025.
“From these 6.5 megawatts; 2.5 will be supplied to ten thousand households here at Bondo while four megawatts will be contributed to the national grid,” said Kadziponye.
Bondo mini grid as among the ten grids in Malawi that are currently operational.
Currently only 11. 6 percent of the country’s population has access to electricity.