Electricity demand tops projections, dams unable to keep up: ministry

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Electricity-Demand The Lower Paung Laung Dam in Nay Pyi Taw. The Ministry of Electricity and Energy says many major dams in the country are at their lowest levels, hampering electricity generation. Photo: EPA

18 June 19 - Source: Myanmar Times - The Ministry of Electricity and Energy says the demand for electricity this year is expected to be higher than projected.

"Demand, whether because of higher-than-expected usage or lower-than-expected power generation, is likely to exceed supply as a result of the late arrival of the monsoon," the ministry's Permanent Secretary U Soe Myint told a press conference last week.

The ministry had originally estimated a 15 percent increase in demand for power this year, but to date, demand has already risen 19pc.

"Currently, the country's total demand for electricity is estimated to be around 4000 megawatts, but we are only able to produce about 3000 or 3100MW," said U Soe Myint.

According to the ministry, the installed capacity of hydropower plants normally is able to supply 56 percent (3225MW) of the country's total power needs, while thermal power plants, whether fired by coal or natural gas, supply another 43pc (2522MW).

As of June 7, hydropower plants were only able to produce 1469MW of electricity

Due to less rain this year, the water levels in the country's major hydropower dams – Mone Chaung, Kyee-ohn-kyee-wa, Myit Thar and Zaung Tu – have reached their lowest points, so the generators are being run depending on the amount of incoming water, said U Soe Myint.

Although the amount of water entering the major dams is low, electricity generation is carried out using generators powered by natural gas and diesel to avoid the possibility of major dams drying up, he added.

Elsewhere, the ministry announced the completion of two water-channelling tunnels measuring 12.5 metres in diameter, on the Dokhtawaddy River near Kyaukme township in Shan State, said U Myat Thura, the ministry's director of hydropower generation.

"They are the largest tunnels in the country," he said, adding that the previously built tunnels are only about 10 metres in diameter. The project was started under the military government in 2010 and was originally expected to be completed in 2022.

– Translated


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