24 Nov 2020 - Source: Myanmar Times - Myanmar will press ahead with the implementation of four hydropower projects to meet the country's demand for electricity, according to Union Minister of Electricity and Energy U Win Khine.

Currently, Myanmar generates 3,225 megawatts (MW) of electricity, or half the country's power supply, from 28 hydropower plants. Myanmar's abundance of hydro-resources and lower cost of producing hydropower compared to other power sources makes this economically viable.

The hydropower projects being implemented include the 51MW Upper Keng Tawng Hydropower Project in Mone Township of Southern Shan State in 2021-22, the 280MW Upper Yehwa Hydropower Project on the Dotawady River in Northern Shan in 2022-23, the 152MW middle Hydropower Project in 2024-25, and the 111MW Thu Htay Hydropower Project in 2025-26. All these are progressing according to plan and will be ready to generate electricity to meet the growing demand for power in the coming years, U Win Khine said.

Meanwhile, efforts are on to augment the existing power supply with new projects to be built in collaboration with different partners. A Notice to Proceed has been signed for the construction of the 60-MW Deedoke Hydropower Project with the Austrian company ANDRITZ Hydro GmbH Co. Ltd, while the 671-MW Shweli 3 Hydropower Project will be a joint venture with EDF Co. Ltd from France, following a Build, Operate, Transfer (BOT) model.

The Ministry will continue building its 735MW Middle Yehwa Hydropower Project as a joint venture on BOT basis with SN Power Co. Ltd, Norway.

Additionally, it plans to build floating solar power plants within the hydropower plants to augment electricity generation under a hydro-solar hybrid system, U Win Khine said. This will ensure Myanmar's rapidly increasing electricity needs are met using a mix of various energy sources including gas, hydropower, liquefied natural gas and solar power.

The Ministry recently floated a tender for 29 solar power plants, with a target of generating a total of 1,030MW of power by next summer. This will help meet the country's electricity demand that is growing by 15pc per annum.

At present, electricity is generated mainly by hydropower and natural gas in Myanmar, meeting 55pc of the country's electricity needs. The Ministry of Electricity and Energy plans to meet 75pc of the country's electricity needs by 2025.

It is also aiming to have renewable sources account for 14pc of its total generation within the five-year period and is considering several renewable energy proposals, including 61 solar power projects with a combined capacity of 5,746MW, seven wind power projects generating 1,163MW and six biomass projects generating 200MW across Myanmar.

With the lowest electrification rate in Southeast Asia, Myanmar, under its National Electrification Plan, aims to provide universal access to sustainable electricity services by 2030.