Myanmar pushes for more hydropower projects

NAY PYI TAW, YANGON – The Ministry of Electric Power reiterated the necessity of hydropower projects, citing an increase in power demand.

Htein Lwin, permanent secretary at the Ministry of Electric Power, said during the press conference to mark the government’s first 100 days in power in Nay Pyi Taw that there is a need that Myanmar proceeds with planned hydropower projects.

Hydropower projects would be implemented on the Thanlwin (Salween) River, he said, urging people to support their implementation.

“Coal-fired projects were suspended as people didn’t accept those projects. We face difficulties on increased expenditure for generating electricity using natural gas. That’s why hydropower projects are needed because the cost of the projects is far lower. I urge the public to support the hydropower projects,” said Htein Lwin. “We will try to use few natural resources and have limited environmental impact.”

He said an extra 900 megawatts of electricity could be generated during this government’s term to help meet an estimated national demand of 5,000mw by 2020.

Present at the press conference were officials from the ministries of Foreign Affairs, the Electric Power, Energy and Border Affairs.

At the event, Kyaw Zeya, director-general of the Foreign Affairs Department, said that the Chinese would certainly lobby on the suspended Myitsone dam project during State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi’s visit to China.

“China will definitely discuss it as it is a main interest. We are making a series of discussions on the ways to seek the best possible solution. We will issue a statement after the government has discussed it with all stakeholders. We have prepared well for the discussion,” he added.

Kachin projects

In a related development, the President’s Office has formed a commission to report on hydropower projects to be developed on the Ayeyawady (Irrawaddy) River in Kachin State.

The 20-member commission is chaired by Khun Myat, Deputy Lower House Speaker, with minister of the President’s Office Kyaw Tint Swe serving as vice-chair.

The commission is seeking mutually acceptable ways for the state and foreign investors to fund the project based on the national interest.

The commission is due to check whether the projects follow international standards and technology; their impact on the social environment and ecosystem; the possible damage to the Ayeyawady; benefits to the state, people and power supply; the continuation of projects; impacts on foreign investments and seek mutually beneficial outcomes after the contracts have been reviewed.

The commission is to compile a report, considering peace, stability, sustainable development and the interests of people. The report must include feelings and views of residents and social organisations, the statement said.

The President’s Office is to take responsibility for the commission’s administration and coordinate security matters between ministries and the Kachin State government. The commission can question those responsible for the project, ask for documents and carry out inspections, appoint domestic and foreign experts to seek advice and form scrutiny groups.

The commission members are Minister for Agriculture, Livestock and Irrigation Dr Aung Thu, Minister for Transport and Communications Thant Zin Maung, Minister for Natural Resources and Environmental Conservation Ohn Win, Minister for Electric Power and Energy Pe Zin Tun, Minister for Education Dr Myo Thein Gyi, Attorney-General Tun Tun Oo, Chief Minister of Kachin State Dr Khat Aung, the International Relations Committee’s MP Mi Kun Chan, secretary of the Bill Committee MP Dr Myat Nyana Soe, chair of the National Water Resources Committee retired deputy minister Ohn Myint, retired deputy minister Myo Myint, retired attorney-general of Kachin State Mayri Mi Nan, permanent secretary of the Home Affairs Ministry Tin Myint, patron of Myanmar Environmental Institute Maung Maung Aye, chair of Myanmar Dams Association retired director-general Win Kyaw and advisory member of the National Water Resources Committee Cho Cho.

Dr Win Thein, chair of the Civil Service Board, will be secretary with Mi Mi Khaing, director-general of the electric power planning department under the Ministry of Electric Power and Energy, serving as joint secretary.

The deadline for the report is November 11.

Supply to Yangon

In Yangon alone, it is estimated that extra 500 megawatts would be needed in the next summer. Chief engineer Thet Naing Oo of the thermal power department under the Ministry of Electric Power and Energy said the tender for the first 300MW would be open soon.

“Hydropower generators will produce the same amount as before. New Mitta hydropower projects will start this year. We are planning to produce 500mw more for the next summers,” said he said.

The ministry is planning to start a new Mitta project in September with 200mw set to be produced.

Yangon consumed about 1,200mw last year, said general manager Thant Zin of the Yangon Electricity Supply Corporation. The ministry is installing more transformers and electrical cables in Yangon Region.

It is estimated that the extra generation and supply would cost about Ks100 billion.

The ministry is installing new electrical cables in Tamwe, Hlaing, Dala and Hlaingtharya townships.


Source: The Nation

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