We must balance risks, rewards of hydropower

Perspectives

The energy sector plays an important role in the development of a nation’s economy.
Power supply is always the main concern of most foreign investors.
Currently, some 35 per cent of Myanmar’s total population lacks access to electricity. The consumption rate of electricity in Myanmar is increasing by at least 15 per cent each year, and it is estimated that Myanmar will consume more than 4,530 megawatts of electricity in the 2020-2021 period. The annual total electricity production in Myanmar is 3,189 megawatts, while it still needs 1,342 megawatts more.
Therefore, we need to boost the power supply sector to carry out development work, reduce poverty and boost the country’s economy.
The Myanmar Hydropower Strategic Environmental Assessment was signed by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Conservation and the Ministry of Electricity and Energy on 22 September 2015, with the support of the International Finance Corporation, to plan a balanced development of hydropower nationally by considering the potential, cumulative impact of multiple projects on significant environmental and social values early in the planning process.
In Myanmar, the electricity sector is considered an important infrastructural challenge in the country, which must be overcome to improve the lives of the people and attract foreign investments.
In some places, electricity is not available. If the problems of electricity and roads in these places are solved on a self-help basis, economic development can be implemented. Efficient transport and electricity systems are needed to draw foreign investors to the country.
The government is striving to give the public better access to transport and electricity.
Myanmar’s goal is to achieve universal access to electricity by 2030.
For many countries, hydropower is a primary source of electricity, and it factors prominently in their development plans.
The world is poised to approximately double its hydropower capacity by 2040, building as many hydropower dams in the next 25 years as were built in the previous century.
Hydropower dams are major investments. They can give significant rewards — electricity to growing economies and alleviate poverty—but they also run great risks.

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