11 Aug 2020 - Source: Myanmar Times - Myanmar has suspended a 380-megawatt hydropower project at the Manipur River in Chin State due to high risks, U Tun Naing, Deputy Minister for Electricity and Energy, told the Hluttaw last week.

"After a review at the State Economic Coordination Committee Meeting, this project was found to be more risk than reward and thus a decision was made to suspend the project. The budget allocated for the project was not expensed," U Tun Naing said in response to the Hluttaw over the unused budget of K190 million for that project.

That project commenced in fiscal 2004-05 during the rule of the Tatmadaw government. It was suspended once before in 2011 by U Thein Sein's government.

The project involves blocking the Manipur River and drilling a tunnel beside the Kalay-Gantgaw Road.

Another 622MW hydropower project in Laymyo, Chin State, is also underway.

Due to COVID-19 in the first six months of this fiscal year, delays in implementation have occurred at the Middle Paung Laung, Upper Yeywa, Thahtay, Upper Kyaing Taung and Shweli 3 projects.

Last month, U Khin Maung Win, Deputy Minister of Electricity and Energy, told the Hluttaw that Myanmar is planning to continue implementing large hydropower projects to meet the country's electricity needs.

Installed capacity at the 28 hydropower plants nationwide is currently only 3225MW. In comparison, the country's 16 natural gas plants produces 3341MW of energy.

The ministry forecasts that hydropower will comprise just 37pc of the country's energy mix in fiscal 2020-21 compared to 61pc in four years ago. In comparison, close to half the electricity generated in the country will be powered by natural gas in 2020-21, compared to 35pc four years ago.