Thursday, 16 December 2010

Burma Insight: 16 Dec 2010


16 Dec 2010

Yangon, December 16 -- Chinese-aided Myanmar’s largest hydropower plant namely Yeywa Hydropower Plant with generating capacity of 790 megawatts together with its RCC embankment was opened yesterday at Pyin Oo Lwin town near Mandalay with pomp and splendour by Prime Minister U Thein Sein.

Built on Myitnge ( a ) Dokhtawaddy tributary of Ayeyarwaddy River just inside Shan State 31 miles South East of Mandalay by Chinese engineers and technicians together with their Myanmar counterparts with a total cost of US dollars 600 million including US dollars 200 million loan from China plus a large amount of local currency, it took Myanmar military government nine years from 2001 to finish building it.

In his inaugural speech at the site of the plant, PM Thein Sein hailed the opening of Yeywa Hydropower Plant “as the day the nation should be filled with great pride.”

According to Thein Sein, the Yeywa dam is not only the first-ever reinforced concrete ( RCC ) facility in Myanmar but also the third largest RCC dam of its kind in the world.

He said the plant has been installed with 790 megawatts generating capacity with four 197.5 megawatts generators. It would thus generate 3550 million kilowatt hours annually.

“The Yeywa Hydropower Plant will certainly fulfill the electricity needs of the nation,” the Prime Minister said.

In comparing the consumption of electric power needs by the people before 1988 and now, Thein Sein said before 1988 the nation could generate only 529 megawatts. “As generating of electricity have been speeded up after 1988, a total of 15 hydropower plants including Yeywa Hydropower Plant, one coal-fired power plant and 15 gas power plants, totaling 31 across the nation are now generating 3045 megawatts,” the PM added in his speech.

In addition he said more hydropower plants are being built. The statistics given by technicians on Yeywa dam is it is of RCC type, which is 2264 feet long and 433 feet high embankment with 448 feet wide spillway. Water storage capacity is 2.114 million acre feet.

Another major hydropower plant built by Chinese aid was Paunglaung Hydel power plant, which lies on Paunglaung River, a tributary of upper reaches of Sittaung River, 11 miles east of Nay Pyi Taw in Yamethin district, Mandalay Division.

This project is being implemented in two phases – the first phase namely the lower Paunglaung project was completed on March 24, 2005 and since then it has been supplying 140 megawatts electricity to Nay Pyi Taw and nearby areas.

In November 2005, eight months after the completion of lower Paunglaung the military government shifted the capital from Yangon to Nay Pyi Taw.

Upper Paunglaung phase of the project, which will also generate another 140 megawatts, is under construction.

The military government has never announced to what extent the Chinese have aided in building this Paunglaung Hydel plant and Paunglaung multi-purpose dam.

Though PM Thein Sein claimed that the newly opened Yeywa hydropower plant would fulfill the power needs of the people, the population of which has grown from 40 million in 1988 to 60 million now, some parts of major cities including Yangon up to now suffered hours long power cut off.

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