Feasibility studies sought for four hydro projects in Myanmar

Myanmar’s Ministry of Electricity and Energy is planning to study the development of four new hydropower projects in the Tanintharyi river basin, in the far south of Myanmar, in the coastal strip between the Myanmar-Thai border and the Andaman Sea. A tender was launched in January this year for consultants to carry out feasibility studies of the four as-yet unnamed projects.

No details of the four projects were provided in the procurement notice published on the Ministry’s website on 12 January, but a total of five projects totalling 696 MW have been previously proposed and identified in two of the three sub-basins of the Taninthayi river basin. The Tanintharyi river basin (44 876 km2) consists of the Tanintharyi sub-basin (17 865 km2) draining via the Tanintharyi river into the sea, a collection of coastal watersheds within the Tanintharyi Other sub-basin, and the small Glohong Kra sub-basin which flows eastwards into Thailand. There are no existing powerplants of 10 MW or larger in the Tanintharyi river basin.

The 600 MW Tanintharyi storage project on the Tanintharyi river, which would regulate around 9870 km2 (55 per cent) of the sub- basin area within Myanmar and inundate 585 km2, has been suspended by the Government of Myanmar on environmental and social impact grounds, pending a further governmental review. There are three other identified hydro projects with capacities of between 11 and 25 MW on smaller tributaries of the main river basin: Sa Ra Wa Chaung (11 MW), Tha Gyet Chaung (20 MW), and Thein Jun Chaung (25 MW). One is immediately upstream of the proposed Tanintharyi hydro project, and the other two are on the southern arm of the Tanintharyi river, each having a moderate catchment area of between 1140 km2 and 1565 km2.

The fifth identified project, Glo­hong Kra (40 MW), is located in the Glohong Kra sub-basin, a headwater stream, which would regulate flow from six per cent of the catchment area in Myanmar and Thailand combined. The Glohong Kra sub-basin, which covers 2.2 per cent (992 km2) of the entire Tanintharyi river basin, provides opportunities for hydro­power development. The tender notice can be viewed via: www.moee.gov.mm, and bid documents are for sale from the Ministry of Electricity and Energy’s Department of Hydropower Imple­men­tation (see contact details below) with bids due by 16 May.

For further information, contact: Ko Naing (Bago)/ GNLM Tender Acceptance and Scrutiny Committee Department of Hydropower Implementation Office No. (27) Nay Pyi Taw Myanmar Tel: +95 67 8104184; or: +95 67 8104298; Email: dg.dhpi@moee.gov.mm; Website: www.moee.gov.mm