Friday, August 18, 2017

Improved electricity for Yangon industry

Htoo Trading and a Chinese partner will start work on a coal-fired power plant next July that will supply electricity to Yangon’s industrial zones, U Sein Oo, a director of the Htoo Group of Companies, told The Myanmar Times on March 17.

The US$300 million project will be implemented by the Ministry of Electric Power (1), Htoo Trading and Huaneng Lancang River Hydropower under the build, operate, transfer system, whereby the private companies will finance the construction and then operate the plant for a minimum of 20 years before transferring it back to the government.

Htoo Trading will provide the majority of the investment, U Sein Oo said, while the Chinese company will supply the technology and most of the machinery. They will also be responsible for training local technicians to operate the plant.

The plant, to be located on a 250-acre site in Htantabin township, Yangon Division, will initially provide 135 megawatts (MW) but that is expected to rise to 270MW after six months, he said.

The project – Myanmar’s first coal-fired power plant – should be completed by the start of 2013.

“The construction work will be complete within two and a half years. We will start providing electricity to industrial zones after two years as the first step,” said U Sein Oo.

The plant will use coal from Kalewa mine in Sagaing Division and the electricity generated will supply factories in Yangon’s three industrial zones: Hlaing Tharyar, Shwe Pyi Thar and Shwe Lin Pan. Any surplus electricity generated will be diverted to meet domestic demand.

To generate the maximum amount of power, the plant will require 3000 tonnes of coal a day, or more than 1 million tonnes a year.

Myanmar produces about 250,000 tonnes of coal a year, according to government figures but there is potential for expansion.

If Kalewa cannot provide enough, more will be imported from ASEAN countries, U Sein Oo said.

“We will transport the coal along the Chindwin [River] and store at least six months’ supply near the plant,” said U Sein Oo. “The site of the plant has been selected bearing in mind the need to transport and unload coal.”

He added that, as an environmental protection measure, the plant would be fitted with a smoke control system to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide and other gases.

No price has yet been set for the power to be generated. The Ministry of Electric Power (2) charges domestic users K25 (about 2.5 US cents) per kilowatt hour and industry K50.

Yangon’s electricity consumption is more than 300MW, but the actual demand is about double.

U Myat Thin Aung, chairman of Hlaing Tharyar industrial zone, said there were about 1100 businesses in the three zones. While electricity consumption figures for Shwe Pyi Thar were not available, U Myat Thin Aung said total electricity consumption at Hlaing Tharyar and Shwe Lin Pan is 88MW but demand is actually much higher.

U Sein Oo said he expected the three zones to consume at least 200MW when the plant comes online.