Test runs of one of Myanmar’s five emergency power plants to take place this month
One of Myanmar’s five emergency power plants will carry out test runs this month after missing an initial deadline to go live on March 31.
The Ministry of Electricity and Energy said in an April 13 statement that the 150 megawatt gas plant in Ahlone township will conduct test runs in this coming week before full operations can begin. It is led by state-run China Energy Engineering Group (CEEC), also known as Energy China.
Some blackouts, expected to last for a few hours, will take place during the test runs on April 15 and 20. The townships affected are Kamayut, Yankin, Tamwe, Bahan, South Okkalapa, Thingangyun, Mingalar Taung Nyunt, Pazundaung, Bohtataung, Pabedan, Kyauktada on April 15, and Dagon, Kyeemyindaing, Sanchaung, Bahan, Lanmadaw, Latha, Pabedan, Kyauktada, Pabedan, Botahtaung on April 20. Disruptions are expected to last for a couple of hours.
The ministry issued a widely-criticised tender for five “emergency” power projects in 2019. The five power plants, which were hurriedly approved by Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s government last year, include the Ahlone plant are supposed to generate 1070MW of additional power to meet Yangon’s power demands this summer.
An investigation by The Myanmar Times this month found that the CEEC plant and two VPower-led power projects in Yangon Region were not ready for operations.
The implementation deadline set out by the tender document is March 31 for the Ahlone plant and April 3 for VPower’s projects. On-site staff told this newspaper that the soonest any of the three plants can commence full operations is early May.
Developers attribute the delay to COVID-19, saying the supply of construction materials was disrupted.
Myanmar has not inked a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) for the Ahlone plant. The tender document indicates that the PPA deadline would be in February.
It is unclear how severe the blackouts this summer will be. As Myanmar braces for the COVID-19 economic fallout, blackouts could add to the disruption by affecting those who are forced to stay at home. At the same time, the closing of restaurants and other commercial establishments and the shutting down of factories could reduce electricity demand.