Malawi moves to assess geothermal potential

23rd May 2014 By: Marcel Chimwala - Creamer Media Correspondent

The Malawi Government is inviting expressions of interest from eligible consulting firms to carry out an assessment of the country’s geothermal resources.

The assignment will be financed by the World Bank’s International Development Association (IDA) as part of the $85-million Malawi Energy Sector Support Project (MESSP).

“The overall objective of the project is to increase the reliability and quality of electricity supply in the major load centres of Malawi. Currently, the country’s power generation is 98% hydro, most of it from a single river, the Shire. The MESSP is expected to build capacity in the electricity subsector by bringing about diversification in the sources of power generation, including the possibility of generating power from wind, biomass and geothermal sources – hence, this preliminary assessment of geothermal resources in Malawi,” says MESSP coordinator Lewis Mhango.

Interested consulting firms should provide information demonstrating that they have the required qualifications and relevant experience to undertake geothermal resource assessment.

Mhango says the shortlisting criteria include at least five years’ experience in similar assignments, five years’ experience in undertaking geological and geochemical studies and at least one year’s experience in undertaking similar assignments in Africa.

“The consulting firm will be selected in accordance with the quality- and cost-based selection methods set out in the World Bank’s guidelines. Firms may associate with other firms in the form of a joint venture or an association to enhance their qualifications,” he says.

Malawi has an installed power capacity of 351 MW, mainly generated from hydropower plants on the Shire river, compared with total demand of 350 MW.