Myanmar-Thai hydropower project starts on Thanlwin river

Key Issues: 

Xinhua 5 April 2007

The implementation of a Myanmar- Thai joint venture hydropower project, Tar-hsan, has started on Myanmar's Thanlwin River in eastern Shan state, the official newspaper New Light of Myanmar reported Thursday. The 7,110-megawatt (mw) Tar-hsan hydropower project, 52.8 kilometers west of Mongtong, is implemented by the Myanmar Hydropower Implementation Department of the Ministry of Electric Power and the MDX Group Co Ltd of Thailand, the report said. The project also involves shares of Ratchaburi Co and Chkarnchang Co of Thailand and the China Gezhouba Water and Power Group Co Ltd.

The hydropower plant will produce 35.446 billion kilowatt-hours a year, the report disclosed. The Myanmar department signed the 6-billion-US-dollar joint venture contract with the Thai MDX Group Co in April 2006 for the implementation of the Tar-hsan project, which is set to complete within 15 years. Electricity generated from the plant will be mainly sold to Thailand with certain amount of it to be supplied to some areas in Myanmar free of charge, the report said.

Four months before the signing of the Tar-hsan project, another contract of hydropower project, the Hutgyi, on the same Thanlwin River in eastern Kayin state, was also inked between the Myanmar department and the EGAT Public Company of Thailand. The hydropower project plant consist of a 600-mw turbine that can produce 3.82 billion kilowatt-hours yearly and power produced from the project is also expected to be partly exported to Thailand.

The 6-billion-dollar Thai investment in the Tar-hsan hydropower project has sharply raised Myanmar's contracted foreign investment to 13.84 billion dollars, a record high as of 2006 since 1988. According to the latest official statistics, the installed capacity of Myanmar's electric power reached 1,701 mw in 2005-06 fiscal year, an increase of 2.5 times from 685 mw in 1988-89. Power consumption was up by 3.7 times. Meanwhile, Myanmar has been implementing a five-year short-term electric power plan, which began in 2003, to generate 2,000 more mw power to fulfill its domestic demand. 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.