Myanmar urged to tap alternative energy

  • -

Myanmar urged to tap alternative energy

200 households in Myin Chi Naing Village, Myanmar, get access to electricity from solar PV mini-grids (Photo credit to Climate Investment Funds)

ALTHOUGH hydropower accounted for 62 per cent of Myanmar’s power production last year, the nation should focus on improving the use of renewable energy to meet its target of 100 per cent electrification by 2030, the Myanmar Green Energy Summit 2017 has been told.

Dawn Del Rio, deputy country director of United Nations Development Programme Myanmar, said the nation was also striving to attain the United Nations sustainable development goal to substantially increase the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix by 2030.

She said sustainable and renewable energy should be adopted and utilised efficiently through the use of technology and innovations in the generation, storage, supply and use of energy.

Renewables would reach the most remote areas in Myanmar before the national grid could, and prioritising it would leverage international investments and empower communities, as well as support local entrepreneurship and employment, Del Rio added.

She told the summit the key results of an innovative rural technologies pilot supported by UNDP, in which 6,371 products were passed through the distribution chain.

The ratio of fuel costs to household income dropped from 11 to 4 per cent, and households saved US$139,730 (Bt4.6 million) in fuel wood and $14,630 in lighting costs per year. Forty new businesses could create 116 additional part-time jobs, she said.

Aung Myint, general secretary of Renewable Energy Association Myanmar, recommended improving the use of solar power as a sustainable energy source.

He said solar could fulfil short-, mid-, and long-term power requirement of the nation.

“Practical application of solar thermal technology and photovoltaic technology need to be combined with well-designed systems of hybrid, energy storage, energy efficiency, and environmental conservation and management,” he said.

The Solar home system (SHS) was introduced in Myanmar in 1992 and has been widely used throughout the country since 2010. Its potential for wider usage has increased since 2015 through the public-private partnership scheme.

“Although there is no exact statistic, solar power application here is large in number and exists as a nationwide application even in the most remote areas,” he said.

Aung Myint said LED lighting innovations and a substantial decrease in SPV (solar photovoltaic) module costs could spread the use of solar in Myanmar.

“There is a huge market for SHS, not only for rural application but also for electrification of off-grid areas. Potential is pretty high but cannot be accomplished due to unfavourable legislation,” he said.

He said that commercialisation of renewable energy was in its early stages in Myanmar and urged the government to set a proper regulatory framework to encourage private investment in it.

Akarin Suwannarat, director for thermal power and renewable energy business at Poyry Energy, said Myanmar had the potential to exploit wind energy in highland and coastal areas. Three wind power projects had been planned for development by 2031 and upon  completion, they would generate 4,032 megawatts of installed capacity.

He stressed the urgent need for an actual wind measurement campaign despite the potential wind resource. He suggested implementation of policy mechanism and guidelines, avoiding impact on projects development.

He said feasibility studies would be carried out to avoid unexpected issues such as limitations on land usage, transmission lines, wind turbine generator transportation and a feed-in tariff scheme.

Akarin considered grid interconnection a major challenge for Myanmar, as wind potential lessened in unfavourable locations further away from existing transmission lines.

 

Source Credit-Eleven Myanmar