Rakhine launches new power infrastructure, aims for development

Power transmission lines measuring 104 kilometres (60 miles) and a substation that will serve Ponnagyun, Rathedaung, Buthidaung and Maungdaw townships in Rakhine State have been officially launched.

The infrastructure will now provide electricity around the clock to some 7800 households in the townships said Union Minister for Electricity and Energy U Win Khaing.

The 66KV and 66/11KV transmission lines connect the townships to a 5 MVA substation in Maungdaw Built by the Department of Electric Power Transmission and System Control, work on the project was completed on December 20.

The project was officially launched last Saturday in an event attended by U Win Khaing and Rakhine State Chief Minister U Nyi Pu.

Before the project’s completion only 986 households out of 1530 in Rathedaung received electricity produced from a 500KVA generator for about five hours a day. In Buthidaung, only 1200 households out of some 3370 received electricity about nine and half hours a day while about 1800 out of more than 4470 received electricity about 12 hours a day from generators

Now, thanks to the infrastructure project 24-hour electricity and will reach more than 1270 houses in Rathedaung and about 1930 houses in 26 nearby villages, about 1800 houses in Buthidaung and about 260 houses in 13 nearby villages, and 2180 houses in Maungdaw and about 3900 houses in 11 nearby villages, said U Win Khaing during the ceremony to launch the project.

He added the project cost K20 billion (US$12.9 million) to build and was partially supported by a development loan from the Japan International Cooperation Agency.

According to U Win Khaing, Rakhine will be implementing other power projects based on the natural resources in the state. He said the government is working to complete the 111 megawatt Thu Htay hydropower project near Thandwe by 2025. Beyond the hydropower project, efforts are also being made to finish a 135 megawatt gas-fired power plant near Kyaukphyu by 2021.

As electricity in Myanmar is distribute via 230 kV power lines, 500kV power lines, often referred to as back bone lines, and sub-power plants are being built where they are most needed to improve and strengthen the national power grid to meet future requirements.

Efforts to distribute more electricity from the national grid as well as from generators are already underway in Rakhine. There are 459,772 households in the state, and 95,166 households in 1,899 villages in 26 townships have been provided with electricity. So the current electrification ratio of the state is 21pc. Similarly, as 1,893 out of 3,742 villages in Rakhine State have been electrified, meaning the electrification of villages is 50.58pc, says the ministry.

As Rakhine state’s electricity usage has been on the increase from about 15 MW in 2014 to 54 MW last year, efforts will have to be made to generate more electricity, said U Win Khaing.

As Manaung is an island township the electricity grid has to be distributed across water, making the electrification process more expensive. As such cheaper and more efficient methods of electrification such as solar energy, diesel-fuelled electricity generation and energy storage systems (ESS) are being explored with the cooperation of South Korea’s POSCO Daewoo Corporation. Some of these projects are expected to be completed by May, he said.

After successful completion of the current projects, further efforts will be made to electrify the remaining 7,850 households in 80 villages in Manaung. If successful, the electrification ratio of Rakhine State is expected to be 45.42pc by 2020 and75pc or more by 2025.

“The people need to cooperate with the ministry and the government as they prioritise work to meet the needs of Rakhine State and other parts of the country for infrastructure such as roads and electricity, socio-economic development. Consequently, industries and the tourism will develop in this region and draw more investors,” said U Win Khaing.

In February, Rakhine State will be holding a fair to target investments in tourism, fisheries and agriculture in Ngapali, southern Rakhine, Chief Minister U Nyi Pu told the media.

The three-day Rakhine State Investment Fair, will start on February 21.

Source: Myanmar Times

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