BANGKOK, March 29 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Myanmar has
abundant renewable energy resources but less than a third of its
population is connected to the electricity grid.
Here are some facts and figures about the Southeast Asian
nation's energy needs and proposed solutions:
* In 2014, around 70 percent of Myanmar's 51.4 million
people did not have access to national grid power. In rural
areas, the figure was 84 percent.
* Myanmar's power distribution utilities added about 200,000
residential customers in 2013. At that rate, it would take
nearly 40 years to get everyone connected.
* Rural households spend more money on electricity, and use
unsustainable and even dangerous energy sources such as diesel
generators, kerosene, car and motorcycle batteries, and candles.
One hour of diesel power in rural Myanmar costs roughly the same
as 24 hours of power in the city of Yangon.
* Myanmar's energy consumption is among the lowest in the
world. One Burmese person, on average, consumes around 160
kilowatt hours (kWh) annually - 20 times less than the world
average of 3,000 kWh per capita.
* But this is changing, with peak load demand growing at an
average 14 percent per year in the past five years.
* Around two-thirds of Myanmar's 4.6 gigawatt power capacity
comes from hydroelectric dams. Natural gas accounts for 29
percent and coal-fired power 3 percent.
* Due to heavy reliance on hydropower, the system cannot
meet peak demand during the dry season, leading to frequent and
* Myanmar currently has three master plans to meet its
future energy needs, formulated by the Japan International
Cooperation Agency (JICA), the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and
the World Bank.
* The National Electrification Plan (NEP) aims to make 7.2
million new household connections, and achieve 100 percent
access to electricity by 2030, mainly by extending the grid.
* The NEP's first phase began with a $400 million loan from
the World Bank. The plan calls for investments of $5.8 billion
over the next 15 years. As yet, it is unclear where the rest of
the funding will come from.
* The Myanmar Energy Master Plan projects an increase in
coal's share of electricity output to almost 30 percent in 2030,
up from less than 2 percent in 2015. Hydropower is projected to
drop from 65 percent to 57 percent but remains the largest
generator. Solar, by comparison, sees a modest rise from 0 to 5
* Myanmar's coal is considered low quality with high
moisture content. Coal is a major source of greenhouse gas
* Myanmar's previous administration gave responsibility for
off-grid rural electrification to a department under the
agriculture ministry, instead of the powerful Ministry of
Electricity and Energy. This stops other government agencies
from working on renewable energy projects, and limits
private-sector participation, critics say.
(Sources: Reuters, The Irrawaddy, Myanmar Times, World Bank,
ADB, JICA, IFC, Pact, Ministry of Electricity and Energy,
Department of Rural Development, Department of Population)
(Reporting By Thin Lei Win, Editing by Megan Rowling; Please
credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of
Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, women’s rights,
corruption and climate change. Visit www.trust.org)