US engineering firm returns to Myanmar

Construction News Myanmar

Black & Veatch was recently appointed by Green Earth Power (Thailand) to provide design and consultancy services for a solar power project in Myanmar, the first after the company opened an office in the country.

The contract marked the return of the US firm to the country. It has a history of working in Myanmar that dates back to a water study conducted in 1912 and developing infrastructure such as the Rangoon Pegu Yomas Water Scheme, including Gyobu Dam between 1935 and 1941.

Located in Magway Region, Green Earth Power’s project will generate up to 220 megawatts of power. The construction is slated to commence in the first quarter of 2016.

“The plant supports the Myanmar government’s aim to increase electricity production from the present 2,500MW to 30,000MW by 2030. Drawing on our deep experience in renewable energy, power generation, water and oil and gas, we are well positioned to support the goal and bring in the full depth and breadth of our regional expertise,” said Pitak Wangvarangkoon, who was recently appointed as general manager of Black & Veatch’s business in Myanmar.

The engineering, consulting and construction company recently opened an office in Yangon to coordinate its pursuits in the country and get closer to its clients.

It has had a presence in Thailand since the 1960s. The company says its 200-strong office in Bangkok plays an important role in helping Thailand and other Asian countries meet their rising energy demands. Backed by experience such as a 55MW solar farm in Lop Buri, Black & Veatch’s scope will be primarily executed by specialised resources based in Bangkok.

“Electricity is an urgent priority in Myanmar and has serious implications on economic and social progress,” said Ric O’Connell, international renewable-energy director at Black & Veatch. “As solar facilities can be built rapidly, it is an excellent alternative to quickly add power to the grid and ensure meaningful impacts on quality of life.”

With more than 25 years of industry experience, O’Connell was recently appointed to lead the company’s renewable-energy business in the region. He is based in Bangkok and will be supporting Asian clients in the development, financing, engineering and construction of renewable-energy projects.

The company expects many Asian countries to lead the next wave of renewable-energy growth. According to a World Bank report, Asia’s performance on renewable energy is strong. Global consumption grew by 4 per cent per annum from 2010 to 2012, while in Asia the growth was almost twice as fast at close to 8 per cent.

Myanmar will be home to Southeast Asia’s largest solar power plant, Black & Veatch said.