On a majestic mission to build a smooth and seamless energy cooperation mechanism, massive pipelines connecting Myanmar, Bangladesh and Nepal, shall be strategically laid out by India to put off the challenges caused by the treacherous terrains of the North-East of India.
The scope of the project is integrative and ambitious in nature as the aforementioned neighboring countries have united to commence the initial operations. This mechanism would facilitate convenience in transporting petroleum products such as liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), diesel and other variants.
The Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister, Mr. Dharmendra Pradhan envisioned the ‘North East Hydrocarbon vision 2030’ with the aim to augment the hydrocarbon production in the North-East of India, proposing an investment of Rs.1, 30,000 crores over 15 years. About 6, 900 km of pipeline shall be stretched across the regions of Sitwe (Myanmar), Chittagong (Bangladesh), North-East of India, and the Siliguri and Durgapur regions of West Bengal.
This geographical connectivity across regions is a strategic and a well-planned move to steer away from wastage, inflammation, and most crucially, benefit the masses by meeting their essential needs for clean cooking gas and fuel. Aligned to this goal, the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY) scheme was introduced by the Prime Minister of India Mr. Narendra Modi to aid the women beneficiaries populating the Below Poverty Line strata. The Free LPG connections being distributed to the beneficiaries scheme has managed to distribute LPG connection to about 2.7 crore beneficiaries, post its launch in May 2017.
Remarking on the foundation stone laying ceremony for an LPG bottling plant at the industrial park of Bodhjungnagar, Mr. Pradhan further shared, “The proposed bottling plant at Bodhjungnagar would be able to cater to the rising demand of cooking gas in Tripura. Existing Silchar (in southern Assam) bottling plant’s capacity would also be augmented by 60 metric ton per annum ensuring smooth supply of LPG in the Northeastern states.”
With the aspiration of adding 10 crores new LPG connections by 2019, in order to attain maximum coverage of the households of India, the energy mechanism has been put in place.
In the quest to provide sustainable power solutions and meet its 10.5 % renewable purchase obligation by 2021-22, the state of Mizoram has articulated and given a concrete shape to its Solar Power Policy, advocating 80MW worth solar projects in 2017.
With the ambitious plan of scaling investments in the solar sector, multiple incentives have been ensured, encouraging the development of solar projects, with special emphasis on the rooftop and ground-mounted placements.
Apart from focusing on decentralized and off-grid power projects; solar street and solar home lighting system, solar water pumping and solar power plants, Mizoram’s solar power policy’s range of incentives involve – Rs.115 per Watt for a microgrid of up to 10 kW, Rs. 99 per Watt for a mini-grid of 10 kW to 500 kW. An installation of 1 kilowatt to 500 kilowatts qualifies for an incentive of 70% of the benchmark cost and an incentive of Rs. 20 lakh /MW can be received for emplacing a project in a solar park. The Government of Mizoram has shown interest in issuing incentives worth 50 lakhs / MW to the farmers and the jobless on account of their participation in developing a project in the solar park.
The policy has strict stipulations with regard to all official state departments and institutions, along with the government of Mizoram, in installing solar rooftop systems. The policy formulates the setting up of grid-connected rooftop solar projects in all the buildings of the state, within the contracted capacity of 1KW and above.
Further incentives are in the form of 100% refund of the stamp duty on land purchased for the purpose of development of solar projects in the state. All facilities vis-à-vis manufacturing, production and other ancillary engagements have resorted to electricity duty exemptions.
Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL) has bagged its largest-ever export order which is valued at Rs. 10,000 crore. This order is for setting up a thermal power project in Bangladesh. The Indian company was able to win this contract in spite of very hard and competitive bidding. The order has been secured from Bangladesh-India Friendship Power Company Limited (BIFPCL) which is a 50:50 joint venture between NTPC and Bangladesh Power Development Board (BPDB). BHEL is India’s largest power equipment manufacturer. The company has arranged debt financing for the project from Exim bank for which loan agreement between Exim bank and BIFPCL was signed in March 2017.
BHEL’s scope of work in the project includes design, engineering, manufacture, supply, construction, erection, testing and commissioning of the 1320 MW thermal sets with ultra-supercritical parameters on turnkey basis. It will also set up a jetty and a river-water intake system. The main equipment to be used by the project will be manufactured at BHEL’s Trichy, Haridwar, Hyderabad, Ranipet, Bhopal, Bangalore and Jhansi plants. The responsibility for the construction and installation activities at site will lie upon the company’s power sector construction division. BHEL has done some projects in Bangladesh earlier as well which include 100 MW Baghabari Gas Turbine Power Project and 2×120 MW Siddhirganj in Bangladesh. It has also set up 220 KV Baghabari & Ishurdi substations.
SolarHome is a Southeast Asia-focussed solar energy firm that is seed funded and venture built by Singapore-based Forum Capital. Founded in 2016, it is a renowned provider of solar energy for rural off-grid households and it acts as an investment and strategic advisory firm specialising in venture building and supporting growth companies in developing markets. The company has decided to invest around US $ 25 million in Myanmar over the next five years. SolarHome has already invested US $ 400,000 in Myanmar and the current target is to raise and invest up to US $ 1.5 million in Myanmar by the end of 2018. It is currently engaged in its pilot project on basic lighting which enables villagers around Pathein and Ayeyarwaddy to purchase solar system through a micro financing scheme. By paying just 10,000 kyats as down payment and a monthly payment of 9000 kyats for 2 years after that anyone can purchase a solar system from them. On the completion of 2 years, customers will have the ownership. Installation is free and so is repair for the two year warranty period. The company expects that it will be able to install around 2,500 systems in 2017.
The power sector in Assam is in a tough spot as the accumulated
loss of the three public sector power utilities of the State has
reached the huge amount of nearly Rs. 3,700 crore. This amount has
been calculated since the splitting of the Assam State Electricity Board (ASEB) in 2004, when the power utilities started with a clean sheet. The splitting process of the ASEB was completed in 2007 with the aim to bring the turnaround in the fiscal health of the State’s power sector in 2008-09. It was hoped that these utilities would become selfsustaining but they still continue to incur loss. In the total loss amount of Rs. 3,700 crore, Assam Electricity Grid Corporation Ltd.’s (AEGCL) share in this amount is around Rs. 442 crore and Assam Power Generation Corporation Ltd.’s (APGCL) share is nearlyRs. 173 crore. The reasons resulting in this grim situation are attributed to various factors including higher
transmission and distribution (T&D) losses, lack of transparency in
metering and billing activities of the APDCL, lack of accountability and wasteful expenditure.
In case of Assam State Electricity Regulatory Commission (AERC),
one of the reasons for incurring such heavy losses is that the tariff
awarded to the power utilities is nonremunerative. This means that they are granted a low tariff compared to the cost of power they supply to the consumers.The transmission and distribution loss in the State’s power sector is 26 per cent presently. An important fact here is that AERC has been fixing the T&D loss target to the APDCL and the AEGCL and only the loss approved by the AERC can
be passed on to the consumers.The rest of the loss must be absorbed
by the APDCL and the AEFCL themselves.The APDCL meter reading has a lot of flaws which is resulting in huge losses. So, this is one area which needs to be looked into and fixed as soon as possible. Tendency among officials working in the power sector to indulge in
wasteful expenditure also needs to be addressed and curbed.
Woodside Petroleum is a well-known Australian energy company operating in Myanmar. This company got a chance to expand its operation in Myanmar when sanctions and restrictions were eased after the year 2010. Today, with six blocks covering more than 11,000 acres, Woodside Petroleum is the largest stakeholder in the western Rakhine basin. The company has recently made a second gas discovery as it came across 200 net feet of natural gas. The discovery has been made in the Bay of Bengal about 60 miles from the western coast of Myanmar. The first discovery this year was made by Woodside Petroleum in January on the opposite end of the Rakhine basin offshore Myanmar. These discoveries show that offshore Myanmar has great potential and will encourage Woodside Petroleum to focus on making many more explorations in the region.
Exports of natural gas have surpassed US$2.1 billion in the first half of the fiscal year, up more than $440 million over the same period last year, according to figures from the Ministry of Commerce. Most gas, about $1.5 billion, was exported by sea, while about $609 million worth of natural gas was exported by pipelines.
Natural gas exports are likely to rise as more offshore and onshore exploration blocks have been awarded to foreign and domestic companies, though much of this could be used within Myanmar, which is facing a severe electricity shortage.
Natural gas remains the top export item with other resources, such as teak, agricultural and fisheries products that follow.
The Ministry of Electric Power (MOEP)recently stated that Western companies in Europe and North America are likely to build the next set of hydropower dams in Myanmar. Chinese and Thai firms have been dominating the hydropower sector of Myanmar in the past and the government now looks towards Western firms’ reliable construction quality and international standards for new dams. However, the government also signed agreements with three Chinese firms and a Thai company to build four hydropower projects on Thanlwin River.
All projects are required to undergo a complete environmental and social impact assessment survey before initiation. Myanmar is also keen to address a chronic electricity supply problem partly through hydropower.
Green Earth Power (Thailand) has signed a memorandum of agreement with the Myanmar Ministry of Electric Power (MOEP) to formalise the development of a 220-megawatt solar power plant. The signing ceremony, held in Nay Pyi Taw, marked an important milestone for the Myanmar power sector, which looks to become a major player in the development of renewable energy, and large-scale solar projects.
Solar power is a solution to Myanmar’s immediate and long term power needs, being quick to build and no reliance on the supply of fossil fuels or subject to (their) price fluctuations.
GEP signed the memorandum of understanding for the project in May last year, and only after presenting its findings under a feasibility study and environmental impact assessment, along with extensive technical discussions with MOEP, was the MoU formalised as a firm commitment by both parties to develop the project.
The Minbu project is on a single 344-hectare (2,150 rai) site 200 kilometres west of Nay Pyi Taw. The solar power plant is to be built in four phases over 30 months with a total investment of US$350 million (Bt11.3 billion).
The solar power plant will be connected to the new 230- kilovolt transmission line that is being constructed by the MOEP, which will be the off-taker under a 30-year power purchase agreement.
The Minbu project is said to be one of the largest solar photovoltaic power plants and will create an estimated 700 jobs during its construction.
Rural renewable energy specialist, Sunlabob, has forged a partnership with Myanmar-based sustainable energy firm Relitec to tap into Myanmar’s growing demand for power and develop clean energy provision in the Southeast Asian country Sunlabob said less than 30% of residents have access to grid-connected electricity in Myanmar, a country of 60 million people, while estimates suggest only 4% of the rural population has electricity.
Andy Schroeter, CEO of Sunlabob, said: “This partnership is an important step for both Sunlabob and Relitec to provide high-quality renewable energy solutions to Myanmar, a country greatly in need of reliable, affordable energy.