Myanmar's 140-MW Upper Paunglaung hydropower project officially opened this week in a ceremony that included officials from the country's Minsitry of Electric Power and President U Thein Sein.
Located in central Myanmar along the Paunglaung River, the $24 million plant will help meet the country's demand for power, which is increasing about 15 percent per year. An estimated 50 percent of Myanmar has no access to the power grid.
The hydropower project includes a 1,700-foot long, 322-foothigh “roller-compacted” concrete dam that will impound a reservoir of more than a million acre-feet. It will generate 454 million KWH and the electricity generated will be transmitted through the national power grid.
Myanmar is currently developing a number of large hydroelectric plants, many of which have received assistance from international development agencies including the World Bank Group.
The government plans to build three more hydropower projects in the area which will generate a total of 410 MW, bringing the total to 13 hydropower projects in the Sittang River valley.
The three hydropower projectsare the Middle Paulaung project (110 MW), Thaukyaykhup No. 1 project (150 MW) and the Bawghahta hydropower project (160 MW).
The Upper Paunglaung hydropower project is on the Paulaung River, the tributary of the Sittang River, and is located 26 miles east of Pyinmana.
At the opening ceremony, Electric Power Union Minister Khin Maung Soe said the government paid for the relocation of villagers from the project’s submerged areas and 8,297 acres of farmland had been developed for the relocation.
The ministry has drafted a plan to have full electrification of the country by 2030 with the help of the World Bank, he said.
The other power projects in the Sittang River valley area include the Paunglaung hydropower project, Khapaung hydropower, Phyu Creek hydropower, Kunchaung hydropower, Yenwe hydropower, Zaungtu hydropower, Nancho hydropower, Thaukyaykhup No.2 hydropower and Shwekyin hydropower project.
The total capacity of the ten hydropower projects is 830 MW.