Andaman explores solar in Sagaing

Investment and advisory firm Andaman Capital Partners is working with the Sagaing Region government to find commercial opportunities for solar power, with a view to securing a 450-acre site and generating up to 80 megawatts of electricity.

If the project is approved, it would become the third major foreign investment into solar energy in Myanmar.

Andaman Capital director Kevin Murphy did not disclose how much the company plans to invest, but said on average each megawatt of solar power requires between US$1.5 million and $2 million in investment, which means that an 80MW project would cost between $120 million and $160 million to build.

“The regional government has been very supportive and shown initiative in working to create renewable energy development opportunities,” he said yesterday.

“This is a great first step. The next phase is to coordinate closely with the Union Ministry of Electric Power to confirm that an international standard project can be developed in close coordination with the national energy requirements.”

In August 2014, US-based private equity fund ACO Investment Group signed with the ministry to develop two 150MW solar plants near Mandalay at a cost of $480 million. Under the agreement the plants in Mying-

yan and Meiktila were scheduled to come online in 2016.

Thailand’s Green Earth Power Company signed an agreement with the government several months later in October 2014, to spend $350 million on a 220MW solar power station, on 850 acres near to Minbu in Magwe Region. The project is expected to take three years to complete.

Unlike coal or gas, the output for solar power is variable – meaning a major challenge for all three companies will be ensuring its efficient acceptance by the national grid in a cost-effective way.

On the other hand an obvious benefit of solar and wind farms – beside the environmental factor – is that facilities can be built more quickly than other energy sources such as hydropower.

Renewable energy in Myanmar is in its infancy, though solar power has been introduced on a small scale to many rural communities with dozens of companies, mostly from China, importing solar panels.

The government’s energy master plan published earlier this year suggests Myanmar’s entire energy sector will require between $30 billion and $40 billion in investment over the next 15 to 20 years.

Domestic energy consumption is forecast to almost double to 21.9 million tonnes of oil equivalent (mtoe) in 2030 from 12.2mtoe in 2012, according to the report, which was written with guidance from the National Energy Management Committee.

To meet demand the government aims to develop a mix of energy sources, targeting 33 percent biomass, 22pc oil, 20pc coal, 13pc gas, 11pc hydro and 1pc renewable energy by 2030.

By this time, according to projections made in the plan, Myanmar will have a population of 73.7 million and gross domestic product of $187.9 billion.

 

Source: Myanmar Times

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