Myanmar opts for domestic power generation

Myanmar opts for domestic power generation

Plans are underway to generate electricity from local power plants even though China, Thailand, Laos and India have offered to sell their electricity to Myanmar, a senior official of the Ministry of Electricity and Energy (MOEE) said.

Details on arrangements to buy electricity from other countries have yet to be made available, and is not necessary at the moment, Myint Soe, the MOEE deputy permanent secretary told the Myanmar Times.

“China has offered to sell us their surplus electricity but we haven’t replied yet. We are still at the discussion stage. For now, we can generate electricity from our power plants. We have already arranged for it in the coming year,” he said.

Myanmar has been exporting natural gas -- a major power source -- to China and Thailand, which are among the countries that offered to sell electricity to Myanmar under agreements made during the terms of previous administrations.

The country is currently exporting 300 million cubic feet of natural gas per day to China and 1.4 billion cubic feet per day to Thailand. Now, China and Thailand have offered to sell their surplus electricity back to Myanmar.

Should Myanmar accept its neighbours’ offers? Economist, Aung Ko Ko, reckons so. To solve the problem of electricity shortage, electricity should be bought from surplus countries, he said.

That’s because although the MOEE has arranged to meet consumption needs for the year, electricity demand will increase annually as more investments are channeled into the country and development continues.

Meanwhile, the government is already struggling under yearly losses from subsidising electricity tariffs to the public, and this is while just 30% of the total population have access to electricity in the country.

According to the National Electricity Master Plan which was drafted with the help of the Japan International Cooperation Agency, electricity consumption across the country will reach 4,531 megawatts by 2020, 8,121 MW in 2025 and 14,542 MW in 2030. The MOEE expects to achieve 100% electrification by 2030.

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