Multiconsult is to carry out the technical, environmental, social due diligence and additional studies for the proposed Mpatamanga hydropower plant, located on the Shire River in Malawi, after signing an agreement with SN Power.

SN Power is participating in the early-stage development of the project as specialist developer for the International Finance Corporation (IFC). Later this year the government of Malawi will launch a competitive tender process among private developers for the project.

Mpatamanga is planned to have an installed capacity of 250-310MW, designed to provide peak load capacity.

 “Mpatamanga represents an important step towards the development of Malawi. This power plant alone will practically double the installed power generation capacity of the country. For us, it is a great honour to be involved in this milestone in the history of the nation”, said Rodrigo Suarez, Multiconsult’s project manager for the technical due diligence. “Historically, this region has been reduced to cover its energy needs through the construction of cheaper but extremely polluting power plants resulting in a negative effect on the environment. That is why part of our work is to show that this type of renewable energy at this scale can be competitive from an economic point of view and at the same time, keeping the environmental impact to a minimum, preserving the delicate and unique ecosystem existing in the country.

“Personally, what gives me most satisfaction is to know Mpatamanga will allow a greater percentage of the population to have access to a stable and reliable electricity supply, boosting the social development and improving the quality of life of a large number of people,” added Suarez.

The project is situated in an area where Multiconsult has extensive knowledge on the hydrology of the river and existing projects, the company said. Earlier assignments in Malawi include the Shire River Flow augmentation project, feasibility study for the stabilisation of the course of the Songwe River, and the recent upgrading of the Kamuzu Barrage where Multiconsult prepared detailed design, tender documents and provided construction supervision services for the project. Several Multiconsult staff were also involved in Nkhula, Tedzani and Kapichira hydropower projects on the Shire River.