Myanmar has not always had the greatest of reputations, but Thailand-based company Green Earth Power (GEP) have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the country’s Ministry of Electric Power to construct a $275 million solar power plant in the city of Minbu in the Magway region, close to the capital of Nay Pyi Taw.
The 210 MW power plant is claimed to be the “world’s third largest solar plant” and is expected to be finished within 18 months. To be developed in three phases — 50 MW, 70 MW, and 90 MW — 70% of the cost will be paid through loans while the remaining financing will come from equity. Paul Bernard Yang, president and chairman of GEP, told the Bangkok Post the company is expected to sign a power purchase agreement with the Ministry within the next 90 days.
“We are also in negotiations for a second MoU, [for a plant that] could be in Mandalay or Yangon, and to have capacity of more than 200 MW,” said Yang. “The second MoU with the Ministry of Electric Power is expected to be finalised this year.”
Development of renewable energy anywhere in the world is big news, especially on such a large scale. The appeal of such a project only grows once you consider that not only is Myanmar not one of the stereotypical nations to develop renewable energy, but that the country currently only provides electricity to 26% of the country, while only 4% of rural areas have access to power.
The development of solar power — and all renewable energy options — will not only prove a boon for the environment as we diminish our reliance upon fossil fuel-based energy sources, but will provide cheaper and efficient means of power generation in countries historically poor in fossil fuels and bureaucratically problematic.