Deputy Union Minister for Electric Power U Maw Tar Htwe said Myanmar plans to increase the country’s electricity reserves by 30 percent to combat nationwide power shortages.
Myanmar’s annual electricity consumption rate is expected to increase 13 percent per year, currently totaling 4,362 megawatts (MW).
The government’s Electricity Master Plan (EMP) aims to produce 23,594MW by the fiscal year of 2030-31 to meet the country’s rising power demands.
Currently, Myanmar’s electricity sector is unable to generate enough power with 70 percent of the country’s population deprived of electricity.
Hydroelectricity will produce over 37 percent of the plan’s power output, with 20 percent coming from natural gas, 33 percent from coal and more than 9 percent from other renewable energy sources.
Myanmar’s Electricity Master Plan includes over 40 projects spread throughout the country, according to the Ministry of Electric Power.
The World Bank will provide loans for the project in phases and estimates the cost of Yangon’s power infrastructure upgrade at around $214 million, according to U Khin Maung Soe, union minister for electric power.
Asian Development Bank (ADB) and Word Bank started assessing the government’s EMP in 2012 and have provided technical support to the project ever since.
U Khin Maung Soe said based on the banks’ evaluations, the government’s EMP will be unviable without investment from foreign companies.
“We have insufficient technology, funds or state budget to complete the EMP on our own, that’s why we invite investments,” he said.
Myanmar will implement electricity projects throughout the country in three ways – construction by state, local business and foreign firms.
The minister said more than 90 percent of international companies showing interest in the country’s Electricity Master Plan have come from China
“Many Chinese company’s have business interests in the country so we will work with these firms to implement the Electricity Master Plan,” he said.
The government has taken out $200 million in loans from the World Bank and Asian Development Bank to address the country’s 15 percent decrease in nationwide electrical output this year.
Regions affected by the power shortages include Yangon, Mandalay, Sagaing and Magway.
U Maw Tar Htwe said Myanmar’s cheapest form of power, hydroelectricity, can’t always be relied on to meet the country’s power shortages.
“Hydropower supply increases in the rainy season but decreases in summer. We need to build up our coal and natural gas supplies to be able to deal with these changes inour water-based economy,” the minister said.
A 6,000MW dam project in Myitsone, Kachin state has been suspended for months due to public opposition, according to the Ministry of Electric Power.
However, authorities plan to sign off on four more projects, generating an extra 390MW, in hopes of securing the country’s Electricity Master Plan’s future.