Fate of Thai-Kayin Coal Plant Project Hinges on Assessment

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The parliamentary approval for a Thai coal power plant in Kayin State would depend on the results of the environment impact assessment (EIA), which is being conducted by an independent agency, a spokesman of the state parliament said.

U Saw Chit Khin said the state parliament would wait for the EIA results before it decides whether to allow the construction of the project in Hpa-an township.

“Everything depends on the results of EIA test. If it passes the test it can proceed with the construction, if it fails the test it will be shut down, and that is what the residents want,” he said.

Residents in the vicinity of the plant have been protesting against the operations of the plant amid environmental concerns.

The joint venture between the Thailand-based TTCL Public Co. Ltd and the Kayin State government is awaiting parliamentary approval. Under the agreement, the company would have a 95 percent stake in the project while the state government would have a 5pc stake.

Construction of the 1280-megawatt power plant is expected to be fully completed in 2024, and it is projected to start partial operations in 2023.

The plant would cost US$2.8 billion (K3.81 trillion), including construction costs of up to $2 billion. TTCL will also have to pay for the 40-year lease of the land where the plant would be constructed.

Some residents, however, have doubts about how the EIA study was conducted.

Ko Saw Thar Boe, a committee member of the Myanmar Alliance for Transparency and Accountability (MATA), said the people were not informed about the EIA test.

TTCL said it would build a high-efficiency low-emission station with advanced “clean coal” technology to mitigate environmental impact, according to a Reuters report.

Coal is currently used to generate just 1pc of Myanmar’s electricity supply.

According to the Constitution, large-scale electricity projects of more than 30MW will be managed by the national government, whereas regional and state governments are permitted to build and manage projects below 30MW as stipulated under the electricity law.

The memorandum of understanding with TTCL goes against the law and it is necessary to make sure the Kayin State government follows the law, Ko Saw Thar Boe said.

The local organisations held a two-day forum in Hpa-an over the weekend to discuss the merits and demerits of the proposed plant, but local authorities did not join the event, he said.

 

Source: Myanmar Times

 

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