Myanmar has the potential for more than 100 GW of hydropower, of which only 3 GW has been developed so far. The largest potential is to be found in the Thanlyin Township, where the Bago River is the major hydropower resource.
The International Finance Corporation and more than 100 members of Myanmar’s private hydroelectric power sector have launched a new working group to help “influence policy and identify solutions to improve upon sustainability and business operations in Myanmar.”
The organization, called the Hydropower Developers’ Working Group, represents more than 100 stakeholders in the country’s hydro sector, including companies, civil society groups, financial institutions and government entities.
Myanmar’s strategic position at the crossroads of south and east Asia is leading to increased participation in regional energy cooperation.
Nonetheless, with an electrification rate of only 31 per cent and demand growth of 15 per cent per annum, Myanmar faces the familiar challenge of meeting a rapidly increasing domestic energy demand.
Currently, hydropower comprises two-thirds of the country’s energy mix, with 3,151 MW of installed capacity from 25 operational projects. Another 46 GW of technically feasible potential has been identified so far, and a number of these projects are now under construction or at the advanced planning stage.
New policy and legal frameworks are being put in place to spur development and attract international engagement and investment. With the assistance of the Asian Development Bank, national energy policy has been reformed and the new Electricity Law was passed in October 2014.
The new legislation was drafted with the specific aim of encouraging international investment in electricity infrastructure and includes provisions for the issuance and revocation of licences to foreign investors.