Thai firm to dam Salween for Burma

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Bangkok Post 4 March 2006

Burma and Thailand will implement another hydropower project in the form of joint venture on Burmas Salween River in southern part of Shan state, the official newspaper New Light of Myanmar reported Tuesday in Rangoon.

The Salween is the worlds longest free-flowing river, but soon is to feature several large dams for hydro-electricity.

The paper said the Hydroelectric Power Department of Burma and the MDX Group of Thailand signed a $6 billion agreeement to build the 7,110-megawatt Ta Sang hydropower project, which is set to completed within 15 years.

Electricity generated from the plant will be mainly sold to Thailand with some to be supplied to some areas in Burma free of charge, the report said.

In December last year, the Burmese department and the Egat Pcl of Thailand signed an agreement on implementing another hydropower project on the Salween River in eastern Kayin state. The Hutgyi hydropower project plant consist of a 600-mw turbine that can produce 3.82 billion kilowatt-hours (kwh) yearly and power produced from the project is also expected to be partly exported to Thailand.

The above two projects constitute part of those on Salween and Tanintharyi River agreed in June last year when Burma Minister of Electric Power Major-General Tin Htut visited Thailand.

According to official statistics, Burma has a total of over 1,335 mw of installed generating capacity of electric power as of the end of March 2005, feeding electricity into the national grid system. The hydropower ones account for 35 percent, while the gas-fired ones take 50 percent of the countrys total capacity. The power generated in 2004-05 which ended in March were 5.4 billion kwh, the figures show.

Meanwhile, Burma has been implementing a five-year short-term electric power plan, which began in 2003, to generate 2,000 more mw in a bid to fulfill its domestic power demand and bring about socio-economic progress.

Under another 30-year long-term electric power development strategy, 18 other new major electric power projects for power grid with a total installed capacity of 14,880 mw are to be implemented in the future, according to the ministry.