I became somewhat depressed by a flash of electricity while I was sitting in the dark in front of the house. To get sufficient electricity is an important part of the daily life of the Yangonites who rely heavily on electric power. Power shortages in Yangon are fewer now than those in the past. The significant reduction in power shortages gives the Yangonites pleasure to some degree. Plans are underway to establish a new power plant in Yangon with the purpose of supplying full electricity to the residential areas, industrial zones and Thilawa Special Economic Zone round the clock.
The power plant will be built in Thilawa Special Economic Zone, Thanlyin township, a suburb of Yangon, Myanmar’s commercial capital and most populous city. Three Japanese companies are planning to partner with Eden Group, a local conglomerate whose businesses include real estate and agriculture. The three Japanese companies estimate a total investment in the power plant project to be worth USD1.5 billion to 2 billion.
Yangon still needs electric power
Yangon is still facing the need for electric power as the Yangonites use more household-use electrical appliances, migrants to Yangon increase and industrial zones with factories and industries grow. Power is generated from plants, wind, sun, water and coal in order to fulfil the requirement of electric power. But we need to consider the least environmental impacts in the search for power.
The currently-planned liquefied natural gas-fired power plant will have a generating capacity of 1,250 megawatts. The Japanese trading houses are Marubeni, Sumitomo Corp. and Mitsui & Co. and they are planning to build a liquefied natural gas-fired power plant.
Generation of power plant to be operational from 2025
The three Japanese companies are going to make an investment in the power plant. It is expected that the power plant will start operation in 2025 at a time when the implementation of the process is completed. Its initial capacity will be equal to about 20% of Myanmar’s existing power plants. The generation of the power plant is expected to fulfil the need for both Myanmar’s electricity and Yangon’s to some degree.
Myanmar seeks local foreign investments
The need for Myanmar’s electricity increases by 10 % to 20 % every year with foreign investments being sought in order to deal with the yearly electricity increase. All power generation projects require skilled technicians as well as capital investment. In general, foreign investments flow only to the electric power sector.
It is true that Myanmar requires electric power so as to supply sufficient power to Yangon’s industrial zones, businesses, special zones, urban projects and further new projects. The power requirement causes an obstacle to foreign investments that would like to enter the country.
A major point
In addition to capital investment, sufficient electric power is an important point in order to improve local businesses, small and medium enterprises. For that reason, the State, the region and state governments are striving for the power necessary across the nation.
Fulfilling the need for the country’s power consumption
The currently-planned liquefied natural gas-fired power plant is some important support that enables to fulfil the power needed for the country. Demand for LNG power is expected to grow in Southeast Asia as a low-emission alternative to cheap coal, according to international energy researchers.
Moreover, the liquefied natural gas-fired power plant project capable of generating 300 megawatts is under implementation in Kyauktan township, a suburb of Yangon. The jetty the LNG vessel is going to dock, and the construction tasks for the installation of the generators, the connection of 20 inches gas pipelines and the extension of sub-power generation are in the process.
Apart from Ahlon, Thanlyin and Thakayta power plants in Yangon, five power plant projects of Kyunchaung and Kyaukphyu are being implemented by tender winning companies so as to generate 1,072.08 megawatts. The Chinese tender winning companies are working for Ahlon power plant project while China-based companies are working for Thanlyin and Thakayta power plant projects.
“Japanese companies considered to make investment in the power generation sector of Myanmar when the latter raised the power bill,” said U Zaw Min Win, President of the Union of Myanmar Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry.
Implementation by Japanese companies
The Japanese companies are going to implement the liquefied natural gas-fired power plant project on the land plots of No 27, No 28 and No 29 in Thilawa Special Economic Zone at the moment. “The Japanese companies have won the tender to build the LNG power plant in Myanmar that is worth USD1.5 to USD 2 billion” revealed in the Facebook of U Thaung Tun, Union Minister for Investment and Foreign Economic Relations.
The generation capacity of the liquefied natural gas-fired power plant is about as much as one nuclear reactor. The liquefied natural gas-fired power plant that is expected to complete in 2025 will supply power to industries, but it also joins the national grid.
The government and the Japanese companies were scheduled to sign a contract to build and operate the power plant in early 2021. The power plant project was expected to generate more than 1,200 megawatts.
If this power plant project were able to be implemented, Japan’s investment would be the first in the electric power sector. The Japanese companies would be able to see excellent potentials while making investment in Myanmar’s power sector.
Power consumption of Myanmar and Yangon
Myanmar generated 3,413 megawatts in 2010-2011 financial year. Myanmar generated 3,185 megawatts from hydropower, 1,829 megawatts from natural gas, 120 megawatts from coal and 101 megawatts from diesel in 2015-2016FY.
Yangon Region consumed 1,050 megawatts in 2015 and 1,250 megawatts in 2016, an increase of 200 megawatts in power consumption. In 2019-2020FY, Yangon’s power consumption reached 1,548.23 megawatts, bringing the total amount to about half of the power consumption of the whole country, according to the data released by the Ministry of Electricity and Energy.
The most important point is to supply sufficient power to Thilawa SEZ and industrial zones in Yangon so that their productivity will be boosted. For that reason, a natural gas-fired power plant was built at the cost of Japanese ODA loan of USD126 million in Thilawa in 2015-2016 FY and it can generate 50 megawatts. This power plant has to take natural gas from Yadana offshore gas field. It is installed with two H-25 turbines and generates 50 megawatts. The generation of power from the natural gas-fired power plant is added to the national grid, and it is supplied to Kyauktan and Thilawa SEZ.
Yangon is still in need of electric power as there has been an increase in the number of factories and industries in addition to the industrial zones and the special economic zone. Local and foreign investments are growing in Yangon as well. Yangon has a population of 7 million, according to the initial statistics of the Ministry of Labour, Immigration and Population. For these reasons, the government is making all-out efforts in the search for electric power in order to meet the demand for Yangon’s power consumption.
Plans are underway to fulfil the need for Yangon’s power consumption and supplying power to other regions and states. 151.54 MW Ahlon natural gas-fired power plant, 350 MW Thanlyin liquefied natural gas-fired power plant, 400 MW Thakayta liquefied natural gas-fired power plant are now under construction in Yangon.
It is believed that the liquefied natural gas-fired power plant would be a new project on which the Yangonites and the industrial zones in Yangon can rely if it was singed for implementation in early 2021.