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December 14, 2018

Myanmar’s growing electricity needs

1390 MW-LNG-fired power plant project in Milaunggyaing. Photo: Ministry of Electricity and Energy
1390 MW-LNG-fired power plant project in Milaunggyaing. Photo: Ministry of Electricity and Energy

Interview with Union Minister for Electricity and Energy U Win Khaing

The consumption rate of electricity in Myanmar is increasing at least 15 per cent each year, and it is estimated that Myanmar is expected to consume about 4,531 megawatts of electricity in 2020-2021. Currently, the annual total electricity production is 3,189 megawatts, with 1,342 megawatt still needed.

By Honey and Hmwe Kyu

Q: Could you let us know the maximum consumption of electricity in Myanmar?
A: The present maximum consumption of electricity is 3,189 megawatts from 17 hydropower stations and 15 thermal power production facilities.

Q: Could you elaborate on the yearly electricity consumption rate and what is being done to accommodate this?
A: The consumption rate of electricity is increasing by 15 per cent each year. As a result, we estimate consuming 4,531 megawatts in the year 2010-2021. Currently, we can produce up to 3,189 megawatts, with the demand for electricity at 1,342 megawatts. That’s why arrangements are being made to produce 439 megawatts from three power plants for the year 2018, 750 megawatts from four power plants for the year 2019, 260 megawatts from three power plants for the year 2020, 971 megawatts from five power plants for the year 2021, and 891 megawatts from five power plants for the year 2022.
These power plants can produce 15 per cent from hydro power production, 18 per cent from power plants based on Heavy Fuel Oil (HFO), 30 per cent from power plants using Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG), and 5 per cent from solar power plant.

225MW-gas fired power plant project in Myingyan. Photo: Ministry of Electricity and Energy
225MW-gas fired power plant project in Myingyan. Photo: Ministry of Electricity and Energy

Q: How is electricity currently delivered?
A: Currently, we produce 63 230-kilovolt (KV) transmission lines (2,846.25 miles), 38 5520-MVA transmission lines, 42 132-KV transmission lines (1,362.5 miles), 24 1724.5-MVA transmission lines,66 6488-KV transmission lines (6,488.7 miles), and 295 4040.5-MVA transmission lines. We will make necessary arrangements to expand the electricity production, which can transmit the power lines across the country.

Q: Could you explain about current access to electricity power and power consumption nationwide?
A: Myanmar’s total electricity consumption rate is 10.877 million, some 4.289 million (38.4 per cent) can get access to electricity and the remaining 6.588 million are still in need of electricity supply. Out of 482 towns, some 350 towns can get access to electricity and the remaining 132 towns are in need of electricity supply. Out of 63,737 villages, some 32,228 villages can get access to electricity and the remaining 31,509 villages are still in need of electricity supply.
Q: How about consumption of electricity in Yangon and Mandalay?
A: Out of 1.58 million households in Yangon, some 1.3 million households can get access to electricity supply, and the remaining 0.28 million households are still in need of electricity supply.
Out of 2,126 villages, some 1,304 villages can get access to electricity supply and the other 822 villages are still in need of electricity supply.
In Yangon Region, there are 9 230-KV transmission lines, 34 66-KV transmission lines, 750 33-KV transmission lines, 9,083 11-KV transmission lines, and 3,482 6.6-KV transmission lines.
The current rate of electricity consumption in Yangon is 1,351 megawatts, including 50 per cent of household use and 16 per cent of lampposts in the streets.
In Mandalay, there are 1.32 million households, and 0.7 million households can get access to electricity, and the remaining 0.62 million are still in need of electricity. Out of 4,807 villages in Mandalay, 3,724 villages can get electricity, and the remaining 1,083 villages are still in need of it.
There are 6 230-KV transmission lines, 11 132-KV transmission lines, 21 66-KV transmission lines, 578 33-KV transmission lines, 7620 11-KV transmission lines, and 52 6.6-KV transmission lines.
The current rate of electricity consumption is 551 megawatts, which includes 48 per cent for household use, 42 percent for industry plus factory, and 10 per cent for lampposts.

1230-MW LNG-fired power plant project in Kanbauk. Photo: Ministry of Electricity and Energy
1230-MW LNG-fired power plant project in Kanbauk. Photo: Ministry of Electricity and Energy

Q: How about other regions and states?
There are 163 66-KV transmission lines, 837 33-KV transmission lines, and 19,799 11-KV transmission lines to distribute electrical power. Apart from Yangon and Mandalay, the total consumption of electricity power is 1,193 megawatt and the annual consumption is about 15 per cent. There are 269 towns which rely on electricity, and 130 towns which still use diesel and hydro power.
Out of 56,804 villages, some 27,200 villages can consume electricity, and some 29,604 villages lack electricity. As for power consumption, household use is 63 per cent and 16 per cent is lampposts and other.

Q: Could you tell me how to connect to electricity in the remote areas?
A: We provide electricity from 32 mini hydropower plants with 34.174 megawatts, and 606 diesel power plants with 87.634 megawatts. In order to supply sufficiently, we also use Solar Home systems,
Biochemical systems and Hydro power plants from the neighboring countries.

Q : How can we make a plan to increase the volume of hydropower electricity?
A: According to the Demand Forecast, it is estimated to increase in volume to 3,587 megawatt in 2018, 4,032 megawatt in 2019, 4,531 megawatt in 2020, 5,092 megawatt in 2021, and 5,727 megawatt in 2022.
Due to the production amount of 300 megawatts, it is needed to generate 3,000 megawatts prior to 2020-2021. As for our Electricity and Energy Ministry, we presented necessary proposals at the 2/2017 National Planning Commission. Many projects of hydropower plants are underway in Upper Kyaing Taung, Upper Ye Ywar, A Le Paung Long and De Dot for 497 megawatts, in Thakayta, Thahtone, Myingyan, Belin GEG, Myan Aung, Ywar Ma(WB) for 794 megawatts, LNG projects including Ahline and Kan Pauk for 1,250 megawatts, WFO projects including Yangon (NIHC) and Yangon (Karpower) for 600 megawatts, and the Minbu Solar project for 170 megawatts, totaling 3,311 megawatts.
We can reserve 428 megawatt in 2021 and 688 megawatt in 2022 if all these projects will be implemented.

Q: Could you explain about the process of LNG factories and its operations?
A: In the production sector, we talked about Delivery and Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with the companies which are willing to make investment in our country. We discussed transmission lines and power supply in line with the policies of our country and had chosen four LNG plants.

133MW gas fired power plant project in Myingyan.  Photo: Ministry of Electricity and Energy
133MW gas fired power plant project in Myingyan. 
Photo: Ministry of Electricity and Energy

Q: Who will build the LNG power plants?
A: For LNG power plants, TOTAL from France, and SIEMENS from Germany will be invested in this region. Plans are being made to join the LNG using Floating Storage Re-gasification Unit (FSRU). It is a combined cycle power plant and two Gas Turbine with 410 megawatts, and Steam Turbine with 410 megawatts can be generated besides 500-KV transmission line, which is Kanbauk Mawlamyine Payar Gyi lines with 280 miles and 500KV Sub Station FSRU and natural Gas Pipe Line.
Another thing is that we are going to invest with TTCL Public Company Limited to build an LNG power plant capable of producing 356 megawatts. We are planning to connect with Floating Storage Re-gasification Unit and distribute it. The investment is worth US$321 million.
Another project is joint-ventured with Zhefu Holding Group Co., Ltd of China and Supreme Trading Co., Ltd of Myanmar. We are planning to connect Floating Storage Unit (FSRU) Vessel .
We can generate four Gas Turbines with 225 megawatts, two Stream Turbine Generators with 245 megawatt, and the project is worth 2.507 billion.
We are also planning to build 135 megawatt plants in Kyaukpyu, and the investments are made by Sinohydro Corporation Limited (POWER CHINA). These power plants will connect through Taungup Maei Kyaukpyu. The investment is US$180 million.

Q: What’s the benefit of your projects?
It can promote the development of Kyaukpyu, Thilawa, Dawei, Muse, and other tourist destinations such as Bagan, Inlay, Nyaung Oo and Mandalay. Moreover, the One-Road project, Trilateral (India-Myanmar-Thailand) and Greater-Mekong Sub-Region, ASEAN Economic Corridor can connect with other neighbouring countries because of border power trading.

Q: Explain about increasing electricity distribution and reducing blackouts in Yangon and Mandalay Region.
A: To increase distribution, additional transformers were installed, old power lines replaced with new ones, consumers were reconnected to transformers closer to them for load sharing, branches and service wires were cleared. Call centres were being set up to resolve the issue of blackouts quickly. The aim is to increase electricity usage to 23,603 consumers in 206 villages of Yangon Region and 79,445 consumers in 393 villages of Mandalay Region with direct investment from the state, a JICA loan, a World Bank loan (NEP Plan) and an ADB loan.

356MW LNG-fired power plant project in Ahlon. Photo: Ministry of Electricity and Energy
356MW LNG-fired power plant project in Ahlon. Photo: Ministry of Electricity and Energy

Q: Explain about power generation from mini sources and other energy sources?
A: In Kachin State, Putao Township, which is remote and far away from the national grid, a 3.2MW upper Namttum hydroelectric plant is under construction. Posco Daewoo is investigating the possibility of setting up a 5MW Solar Power Plant on Manaung Island. In other states and regions, a mini-grid is constructed and power distributed through 32 mini hydroelectric plant projects and a solar power plan.
On the renewable energy sector, a 220MW Minbu and a 300MW Wundwin solar energy power stations are under construction and studies on geothermal, ocean energy and tidal energy are being conducted.
We need a further 3,000 megawatts to supply power to our people sufficiently. Currently four projects of LNG-fired plants can generate 3,000 megawatts. A further 3,000 megawatts within two to three years are enough for the supply side. For transmission, we will work for transporting the power through northern, southern, eastern and western grids.
For the distribution sector, we need to use Smart Technology for power distribution in Yangon and Mandalay. We will also use the four-meter system as of 1st April, 2018, and people in rural and urban areas can choose the one they like out of four meters with affordable prices.
Within two to three years, we will try to replace the old meters in towns with modern ones. We are committed to distributing power with correct rotation and frequency to the people.
The power supply is the first question asked by foreign and local investors. Today, we can say that we can take responsibility for a reliable power supply by 2020.

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