Energy Efficiency Brief – Malawi

March 16, 2018

The Copenhagen Centre is working with Malawi to improve and support its energy efficiency across different sectors with a focus on transport, buildings and industry.

Like many other sub-Sahara countries, expanding access to modern energy is the top priority on Malawi’s energy policy agenda and strategies for sustainable development. Malawi’s National Energy Policy was published in 2003 and the associated energy law was enacted in 2004. Together they set in motion direction for a holistic use of resources and promoting diversification of energy sources and supply. During 2012-2016, the Department of Energy Affairs implemented a Sustainable Energy Management Project that aimed at facilitating a significant shift from direct burning of wood to cleaner, safer and sustainable use of modern energy in Malawi. Currently, a new and more inclusive energy policy has been drafted and is awaiting approval.

However, Malawi faces challenges with a low electrification rate, estimated at 12% in 2016, and over 80% of Malawians depend on traditional use of biomass. Energy efficiency measures could not only enable existing electricity supply to reach out to new customers and reduce peak power outages, but also save on expensive fuel imports and electricity generation capacity investment. Furthermore, as one of the Least Developed Countries with poverty levels of over 50%, energy efficiency measures could also result in direct energy cost and labour time savings among households in the country.

As the global energy efficiency hub of Sustainable Energy for All, the Copenhagen Centre on Energy Efficiency acts to connect aspiring countries, cities and districts with the technology, service and finance providers who can convert their ambition into agreed policies, funded projects and real results. These direct engagements can then be used to provide a model of coordination that can be replicated elsewhere.

As a part of this dialogue process, the Centre produces a summary of the opportunities and issues uncovered as an ‘Energy Efficiency Brief’, which provides a signpost towards the joint work that we aim to progress in the location.

Highlights of the brief on Malawi include:

  • Transport: There is potential to develop energy efficiency and energy conservation measures in the areas of non-motorised transport, mass bus transit system and commercialisation of biofuels (ethanol and biodiesel).
  • Buildings: Malawi needs to promote energy efficiency in the built environment through development building codes and standards for appliances.
  • Industry: Accelerate and upscale energy efficiency actions among industries through promotion of energy efficiency standards, energy audit, and energy management.