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Light going to come through darkness in rural areas before long

By Kyay Let Maung

Energy sector plays a major role in Myanmar nowadays. Power demand has doubled increase despite a boost in power generation. This is because factories, industries and modern buildings are on the increase and people have been using more and more electrical appliances. Only one fourth of the total population of Myanmar has gained access to electric power, but the remaining three fourths of the total population are still distant to get access to power.

National Electrification Project
The government managed to strive for a boost in power generation to ensure that a 50 % of the State’s population would have got access to power at the end of 2019 alongside socioeconomic progress of the people. There are 10.7 million households in Myanmar at present. 3.7 of 10.7 million households got access to electric power in 2015-2016 FY and 4.9 million of them in June in 2017. There is a big gap between power generation and consumption. The government is making plans to provide assistance for the implementation of electrification in the rural areas and the national electrification project is one of the implementations.

Collaborative efforts to meet the needs
The national electrification project has been implemented through joint effort by the Department of Rural Development under the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Irrigation and World Bank’s Energy Sector Management Assistance Program-ESMAP since 2016-2017 FY. The project is funded with State budget, loans of World Bank. Solar system for one house use was carried out in 2017-2018 FY. According to the requirement of the people, the size of the task was specified for 2018-2019 FY. Electrification will be carried out in the villages which are more than ten miles far away from the national grid by ways of small-scale power line system, hydropower and biomass. The national electrification project is that all parts of the country would be fully electrified in 2030. Moreover, electrification would be undertaken in 90,000 houses in Ayeyawady, Taninthayi, Sagaing, Magway, Bago Regions and Mon and Kayin States according to the national electrification project.

Encouraging electrification project
Rural Electrification Programme II on Grid Electrification Project of KfW of Germany will be implemented by spending 23.883 million euro of loans and 6.535 million euro of financial assistance totaling 30.418 million euro in southern Shan State in order to enjoy more power and help with the national electrification project.
The electrification project is being implemented to provide power for an estimated 32,674 households from 416 villages in Taunggyi, Loilem, and Langkho districts from 2018 to 2022.
The Ministry of Electric Power and Energy has plans to supply power to the villages by using partial of annual budget, annual budget allocation from region and state governments and international loans. For that reason, the electrification project for rural people is very encouraging.

A village in Butalin, Sagaing Region is electrified via solar system. Eight villages between Ayeyawady and Chindwin rivers in Yasagyo Township get access to solar power last year. Photo: Than Lwin (Magway)

Measures to narrow the gap between urban and rural areas
Power is supplied to 506 villages in Kayah State—357 villages through national grid, 11 villages through small-scale hydropower, 89 villages through solar and 2 villages through diesel engine. Power is supplied to the villages with the use of national grid, small-scale hydropower, solar and diesel engine. There are 474 villages in 91 village tracts in Hpa-an, Kayin State. Having made plans, the governmental departments took measures to supply power to the villages. Extensive measures were taken to narrow the gap between urban and rural areas during 2017-2018 FY. The Department of Rural Development is responsible to supply power to 64 villages, the Department for Development for Border Areas and National Races, 44 villages, the Electric Power Distribution Department, 194 villages and the private diesel engine, 2 villages, bringing the total number of villages to 304. Power was supplied to 130 houses on Yaybawthaung island and 213 houses on Pharnwe island in Hpa-an during 2014-2015 FY. Power was supplied to a monastery, a primary school and 43 houses on Tayokehla island and land-posts in the rural road were electrified during 2016-2017 FY.
The objective of the National Electrification Project is to enable the whole country to have access to full electricity in 2030. The Department of Rural Development is making strenuous efforts in order to reach the successful destination. Concerning departmental functions, the department has achieved success not only in the country but also in ASEAN community. The 37th ASEAN Ministers on Energy Meeting was held in Bangkok, Thailand in 2019. ASEAN Energy Forum organized by the Ministry Electricity and Energy was held from 3 to 5 September during which the Department of Rural Development received ASEAN Energy Award-Winner related to ASEAN renewable energy project with the title of “On-Grid-Local Grid”.

Measures through various ways
The Department of Rural Development is implementing the projects through Off-Grid programme of the National Electrification Project. It deservedly won the award when it participated in the contest through the title of solar small-scale power system of Khantekyun village in Palaw in Taninthayi Region. The National Electrification Project has begun in 2016-2017 FY. According to outside plan of the national grid in 2018-2019 FY, power is being supplied to more than 100,000 houses in 2,489 villages through solar system and 10,025 houses in 38 villages through small-scale power system. From 2016-2017 FY to 2018-2019 FY, about 137 megawatt of installed capacity could be generated through renewable energy and solar energy systems. About 810.9 tons of carbon dioxide gas emission could be reduced at the same time.

Yangon tries to enjoy 100 per cent power by 2020-2021 FY
Yangon Electricity Supply Corporation opened its 33/11 kv-5 MVA Khathtiya sub-power station in Twantay Township on 9 February, attended by Union Minister for Electricity and Energy U Win Khaing and Yangon Chief Minister U Phyo Min Thein and Hluttaw representative and local people. Speaking at the opening ceremony, Union Minister U Win Khaing said the importance of public collaboration while the ministry is working for more distribution of electricity for socioeconomic development of people. Out of 1,031 villages in the south district of the Yangon Region, electricity from the national grid has reached to 598 villages amounting 58 per cent of the total villages in 2018-2019 fiscal year, increasing from 475 villages of 46 per cent in 2018. For the entire area of the Yangon Region, 64 per cent of the villages have access to electricity in 2018-2019 FY, and is expected to increase to 87 per cent in 2019-2020 FY. The Ministry has also targeted 100 percent power supply to the whole region by December 2020. On 20 January, Union Minister for Electricity and Energy U Win Khaing made an inspection tour to a 151 MW natural gas-fired power plant in Ahlon Township, Yangon Region and it will be operational at the end of May in 2020.
In conclusion, the rural electrification plan plays a leading role. Occasionally, rural people had to spend years of dark nights and were difficult to see electric power in the past. Laying down different projects, the government is now making strenuous efforts through various ways and means so as to meet the power consumption of the people and extend its power distribution into all parts of the country. For that reason, the endeavors of the country is encouraging enough for the rural people to enjoy the fruit of electrification plan in the future. Translated by Htut Htut (Twantay)

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