Lilongwe: Some Malawians are benefiting from renewable energy despite others still facing challenges in finding alternative energy sources to use in their day to day lives, it has been observed.
Mulanje electricity generation company (MEGA) is one of the companies which is engaged in using renewable energy known as micro hydro plant with capacity ranging from 0 to 100 kilowatts, which is also aimed at meeting rural electricity needs in Malawi.
Speaking in an interview with the Malawi News Agency (MANA) on Tuesday, Ministry of Natural Resource, Energy and Mining Public Relations Officer, Saidi Banda said there are so many benefits of renewable energy, citing that it is clean energy that does not pollute the environment therefore not contributing to climate change.
Since it is clean then it is also health friendly because people cannot inhale the smoke produced for example if they cook using biogas which is also a form of renewable energy, said Banda.
Mulanje Electricity Generation Company, power distribution manager, Lusungu Kumwenda said previously, people at Bondo were using candle to light and paraffin which was expensive and not good for health, hence with the coming in of the electricity life is cheaper for people at Bondo.
People are economically empowered because now they are using electricity for business- such as opening of welding shops, barbershops, maize mills, video showrooms, charging phones and batteries, and this has reduced deforestation in Mulanje Mountain because people are using electricity for cooking instead of firewood, said Kumwenda.
Lusungu added that, despite having some benefits they also face a number of challenges which include regulation challenges like obtaining a license.
She said for someone to have a license he/she needs someone who is certified by the Malawi Energy Regulatory Authority (MERA) and on the same note distribution and generation licenses are also expensive.
She said to overcome these challenges MEGA has entrusted her with the responsibility to oversee all electrical mechanical issues.
Another challenge is social challenge; people in rural areas want electricity free of charge because it is owned by the community, therefore to overcome this challenge MERA came in to explain what it means by free electricity, added Kumwenda.
Lusungu said another challenge which is financial has to do with funding as most of the projects are not sustainable hence depend much on donors and to overcome this challenge it depends on donors or have it interconnected to the Electricity Supply Cooperation of Malawi (ESCOM).
Source: Malawi News Agency MANA