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CEM BACKS "BIG SHIFT" FOR MALAWI'S ENERGY INDUSTRY

As Malawi is trying to find lasting solutions to its energy challenges, the Kamwamba Coal-Fired Power plant in Neno district is still taking the center stage. The project is being funded to the tune of 600 US Dollars loan which Malawi government sought from China's Exim Bank. The plant will add to the national grid 300-megawatts with the country needing 500-megawatts, but only half is currently being generated. But the irony to the whole project is that it is being pursued using money borrowed from a country that is currently closing down all its coal powered projects in preference for renewable energy. Speaking to the Nation newspaper, Community Energy Malawi's (CEM), Country Director, Edgar Kapiza Bayani, noted government's desperation in all this.

"This could be a case of desperate situations calling for desperate measures," she says.

"There is desperation in government to find solution to incessant blackouts, especially with the political stakes this energy issue posses," he continues.

CEM supports the "big shift", a global campaign to switch from fossil fuels to cleaner economies powered by renewable energy. 

"At a time the world is talking about clean energy, we least expected our country to think coal is the ultimate solution - especially with the technological advancements in renewable energy," Bayani further states.

This is in line with the Green and Inclusive Energy (GIE) project which CEM is implementing across the country with support from Hivos. Through Malawi for Green, Localized, Inclusive and Decentralized Energy (Malawi - GLIDE), the organization is in a national advocacy and awareness for green and inclusive energy, especially hydro, solar and wind power. By working together with Government of Malawi, policy makers and other organizations, CEM aims to influence investment and knowledge in renewable energy.

Source: The Nation newspaper, Thursday, October 11, pages 4-5 from the article "Malawi-China Ties On Burning Coal" written by James Chavula, an Energy Reporting award winning journalist with Climate Tracker.