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May 29, 2020

New Hydropower Developers’ Association to drive sustainability in Myanmar

Photo of Baluchaung No.2 Hydropower Plant. Photo: Ye Myint
Photo of Baluchaung No.2 Hydropower Plant. Photo: Ye Myint

A new industry association is launching in Myanmar to promote sustainable development in the hydropower sector. The Myanmar Hydropower Developers’ Association (MHDA) is an innovative platform for hydropower companies and industry professionals to support dialogue, influence sector policies, and improve environmental and social management practices and governance.
The MHDA was founded in 2016 as the Hydropower Developers’ Working Group. Initially led by the International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, with support from the Australian government, the MHDA has now transitioned to an independent, Myanmar-registered association.Myanmar is South East Asia’s largest growth market for electricity. Currently, an estimated 60 percent of the population lacks access to electricity. The government’s National Electrification Plan aims to electrify 7.2 million households and give Myanmar’s people universal access to electricity by 2030.
With the nation’s vast untapped hydrological resources—about 95 GW—and nearly 100 hydropower projects in operation, under construction, or in the planning stages, the sector is set to play a crucial role in providing the power essential for Myanmar’s economic growth and social development. The MHDA offers a private sector perspective on hydropower policies as well as the sector’s evolving legal and regulatory frameworks and development. The association will hold business meetings and organize activities around four focus areas: development of model transactional documents; project procurement; environmental and social matters; and small hydropower. Members will benefit from tailored seminars on topics such as social risk management, stakeholder engagement and grievance mechanisms.
“We’re very proud to have played a part in creating the MHDA. We believe it is uniquely placed to make significant contributions to the sustainable development of Myanmar’s hydropower sector,” said Vikram Kumar, IFC’s Country Manager for Myanmar and Thailand.
As its first initiative, the MHDA—in cooperation with the Ministry of Electricity and Energy—is producing standardized concession and power purchase agreements for hydropower projects. These agreements will help regulate the rights and obligations of both developers and the government, and ensure projects will meet the accountability requirements of international lenders and comply with environmental and social standards.
“Hydropower has significant potential to help develop Myanmar, but we need to strike a balance between meeting the country’s energy needs and protecting its environment and communities. To support that, we aim to promote health and safety standards, sustainable regulation, and strengthen compliance,” said Aung Zaw Naing, Chair of MHDA’s Executive Committee.
The MHDA is accepting membership applications from local and foreign-owned hydropower developers, operators, EPC contractors, as well as related vendors and industry professionals that are currently or soon to be operating in Myanmar. Prospective members are invited to attend a launch event on 9 May, 2019 from 5:30pm to 7:30pm in the Bago Room of the Sule Shangri-La Hotel in Yangon where they can meet current members and learn more about the organization’s vision and activities.—GNLM

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