Myanmar to announce winners for solar project tender “soon”

Photo: Kang Wan Chern/The Myanmar Times

Myanmar will announce the winners for a 1060-megawatt solar project tenderĀ  “very soon,” said U Soe Myint, Deputy Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Electricity and Energy.

“The announcement will be made soon and we are screening the companies. We want to be fast bust also have to be accurate as well,” he said. Power generated by the project is expected to start feeding into the national grid by the summer of 2021.

Investors were first invited to tender for the project on May 18. The short deadline for that tender though, has been the subject of criticism among potential bidders and local investors and later extended from June 17 to July 17. Selected independent power producers (IPP) will be awarded 20-year power purchase agreements to build 30 solar facilities with capacities ranging from 30MW to 40MW.

The project received 155 applications and a selection process is currently underway. No other details have been provided, including where the investors are from.

On social media, Minister of Investment and foreign Economic Relation U Thaung Tun said the number of applicants reveals great interest in Myanmar’s Energy sector.

But U Kyaw Kyaw Hlaing, chair of the Smart Group of Companies, pointed out that the strict tender conditions had essentially ruled local investors in the country. The conditions include showing an income stream of US$20 million per year for the past three consecutive years.

There were also conditions like requiring the company to have implemented three IPP projects in last ten years, with at least one of them involving a solar power plant.

According to the ministry, development of the solar project must be complete within six months and gathering financial capital in that short time frame can also be problematic, said a local businessman who completed in the tender. Such projects are usually financed with 80 percent loans and 20pc private capital.

The project is part of the government’s plan to generate more electricity to meet demand. A separate tender for the upgrading of a power plant in Ywama, Insein township, will be called this year. Work involves replacing old machinery and equipment at the plant so that it can generate 300MW of power. It will take 36 months to complete.

Last month, the MOEE granted a Notice to Proceed to Japan’s Marubeni, Sumitomo Corp and Mitsui & Co to build a 1250MW liquefied natural gas (LNG) power plant worth up to US$2 billion in Yangon’s Thilawa Special Economic Zone. Construction is estimated to take 30 months.

In June, Hong Kong-listed VPower Group Signed power purchase agreements with the MOEE for its gas plant in Kyun Chaung of Magwe Region, as well as the LNG plants in Yangon’s Thanlyin and Thaketa and Rakhine’s Kyaukphyu, generating more than 100MW combined. Commercial operations began at all four plants in June.- Translated.

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