To achieve a goal of the full electrification of Myanmar by year 2030, the government is planning on a significant increase in coal-fired power plants.

For now, southern Myanmar is the likeliest site for coal-fired power plants, said Aye Min, deputy director for thermal power planning, during the Myanmar Electric Power Convention last week in Yangon. Hydropower projects are generally located in the northern part of the country.

“Electricity demand will continue to rise annually, so we need more thermal power plants to meet the increasing demand. [Moreover], thermal power output does not rely on seasonal and site conditions,” he told Eleven news.

Under a master plan, by 2030, coal will generate 7,940 megawatts or 33 per cent of installed capacity. Currently, there are two coal-fired power plants – one with 120MW in Shan State and the other with 8MW in Tanintharyi Region.

Hydropower currently generates 69 percent of installed capacity, with another 29 per cent accounted for by natural gas.

“For the time being, our production largely depends on hydropower and gas. But we also need to find other sources such as coal and renewable energy to ensure 24-hour full electricity to the whole country, as targeted,” Aye Min said.

“We do not have another option. We do not have many options to get reliable power,” he said.

For now, around 33 percent of the population has access to electricity in Myanmar. Among the 10.88 million households, more than 7.34 million are yet to be electrified.

Private-sector participation plays a crucial role in the master plan, the deputy director said.

Firms from different countries have been approved to build nine new gas turbines and waste-heat recovery boiler power plants in Yangon, Mandalay, Tanintharyi and Ayeyarwaddy regions.

Additionally, private companies – both local and foreign – will build 11 coal-fired plants in states and regions such as Shan, Mon, Yangon, Sagaing, Ayeyarwaddy and Tanintharyi, he said.

Upon completion, Yangon Region will become home to major coal-fired plants, according to the long-term plan.

Building 230-kilovolt coal-fired main stations and substations in the Dawei and Thilawa special economic zone areas respectively, are part of the plan.

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