Myanmar told to embark on wind energy

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Wind turbines
Wind energy could make sense in Myanmar’s power mix, experts say

Myanmar in its quest to increase power production could adapt renewable energies such as wind energy and at the same time enticing investors in the green energy sector to the country, a seminar on the potential and challenges in wind energy for Myanmar was told.

According to a report by news channel Mizzima, consultants from Norway, Germany, the British Embassy and national energy development committee members joined the seminar on December 16 and acknowledged the potential renewable energy such as wind power had in the country, but also said that changes are necessary at a systematic level to match the evolution of such resources.

The situation is critical as three-quarters of the country’s population has no access to electricity, while in developing Asia the average ratio is 18 per cent, according to data from the Asia Development Bank.

Hydropower accounted for nearly 74 per cent of the overall electricity generation of Myanmar as per latest government data from 2013, while the country exports most of its liquid natural gas production. With hydropower dominating the sector, energy supply fluctuates between rainy and dry seasons and supplement from other renewable energies like solar and wind would make sense.

However, the Myanmar government so far has been eyeing to increase power production mainly through coal plants. According to official plans, the country aims to increase coal power to nearly a third and lower renewables to 9 per cent in the power mix by 2030. The main reason for increasing the coal power share was due to technical limitations and to ensure the stability of energy supply, according to Deputy Minister of the Ministry of Electric Power U Maw Thar Htwe.

But according to a study released at the seminar, wind energy in Myanmar could be a better option.

“If all the costs are weighed, solar and wind usually offer better value, more flexibility and less risk than other resources such as coal. It’s also certainly possible to depend on solar and wind, as we see for example in Denmark and Uruguay, if the electricity system is reconfigured to match the resource,” said David Fullbrook, advisory member of DNV GL, a Norway-based green energy consultancy.

To trigger investments it requires is a “simple, clear and stable” policy and regulation, according to Chris Hughes from Berwin Leighton Paisner, a London-based international law firm which just opened an office in Myanmar. Key areas that await legislation include ownership modules, investment incentives, land rights, planning permission and grid connection, Hughes said.

By utilising wind energy, annual electricity production could “comfortably exceed current demand and attract a large amount of investment while generating job opportunities,” according to a DNV GL analysis which states that the wind industry is quite mature with proven techniques for mitigating the direct impact.

For financial solutions, there are several possible module structures for a safe funding plan, including buyer credit guarantee schemes used in European countries, which could lower bank exposure to a minimum 30 per cent.

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Reading Time: 2 minutes

Wind energy could make sense in Myanmar’s power mix, experts say

Myanmar in its quest to increase power production could adapt renewable energies such as wind energy and at the same time enticing investors in the green energy sector to the country, a seminar on the potential and challenges in wind energy for Myanmar was told.

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Wind turbines
Wind energy could make sense in Myanmar’s power mix, experts say

Myanmar in its quest to increase power production could adapt renewable energies such as wind energy and at the same time enticing investors in the green energy sector to the country, a seminar on the potential and challenges in wind energy for Myanmar was told.

According to a report by news channel Mizzima, consultants from Norway, Germany, the British Embassy and national energy development committee members joined the seminar on December 16 and acknowledged the potential renewable energy such as wind power had in the country, but also said that changes are necessary at a systematic level to match the evolution of such resources.

The situation is critical as three-quarters of the country’s population has no access to electricity, while in developing Asia the average ratio is 18 per cent, according to data from the Asia Development Bank.

Hydropower accounted for nearly 74 per cent of the overall electricity generation of Myanmar as per latest government data from 2013, while the country exports most of its liquid natural gas production. With hydropower dominating the sector, energy supply fluctuates between rainy and dry seasons and supplement from other renewable energies like solar and wind would make sense.

However, the Myanmar government so far has been eyeing to increase power production mainly through coal plants. According to official plans, the country aims to increase coal power to nearly a third and lower renewables to 9 per cent in the power mix by 2030. The main reason for increasing the coal power share was due to technical limitations and to ensure the stability of energy supply, according to Deputy Minister of the Ministry of Electric Power U Maw Thar Htwe.

But according to a study released at the seminar, wind energy in Myanmar could be a better option.

“If all the costs are weighed, solar and wind usually offer better value, more flexibility and less risk than other resources such as coal. It’s also certainly possible to depend on solar and wind, as we see for example in Denmark and Uruguay, if the electricity system is reconfigured to match the resource,” said David Fullbrook, advisory member of DNV GL, a Norway-based green energy consultancy.

To trigger investments it requires is a “simple, clear and stable” policy and regulation, according to Chris Hughes from Berwin Leighton Paisner, a London-based international law firm which just opened an office in Myanmar. Key areas that await legislation include ownership modules, investment incentives, land rights, planning permission and grid connection, Hughes said.

By utilising wind energy, annual electricity production could “comfortably exceed current demand and attract a large amount of investment while generating job opportunities,” according to a DNV GL analysis which states that the wind industry is quite mature with proven techniques for mitigating the direct impact.

For financial solutions, there are several possible module structures for a safe funding plan, including buyer credit guarantee schemes used in European countries, which could lower bank exposure to a minimum 30 per cent.

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