Privately-owned Parami Energy has inked a tripartite agreement with the agriculture ministry’s Department of Rural Development and the Village Electrification Committee (VEC) to develop a mini-grid system for almost 1,500 households across eight villages in Yesagyo township in Magway Region.
When completed, the project will be the largest mini-grid system in the country, according to U Pyi Wa Tun, Parami’s CEO. The project will involve US$1.6 million investment, with 60 percent of the funding coming from the World Bank, via the rural development department. The mini-grid will have its own generator, supported by a combination of solar and fuel energy.
The firm signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in 2016 with French electric utility giant EDF and the Magwe regional government to explore the project’s feasibility. EDF subsequently decided not to go ahead but Parami remains committed.
Myanmar’s challenge in providing its population access to reliable and affordable power lies with expanding the national grid. However, for many communities living in remote areas, the hope of accessing the main grid will not materialise for years, if not decades.
‘We could show that mini-grids are feasible, universal electrification could be secured earlier.’ – U Pyi Wa Tun, Parami Energy
Yesagyo township in Magwe Region is no exception. The area is located at the confluence of the Chindwin and Irrawaddy rivers, essentially cut off from the mainland by the waterways. Therefore, Parami sees the necessity to develop a mini-grid for the island’s community. The mini-grid is expected to go into operation by April 2019.
Steve McBride, Parami’s chief operating officer, explained that this project aligns with the Myanmar government’s priority to accelerate the country’s electrification. In particular, rural electrification is vital to improving the livelihoods and economic opportunities for the bulk of the population.
“Mini-grids are important for Myanmar because 70 percent of our population has no access to grid electricity. The national electrification plan [NEP] aims to achieve universal electrification by 2030, which will mainly rely on the expansion of the national grid,” U Pyi Wa Tun told The Myanmar Times.
“However, mini-grids could play a key part in this. If we could show that mini-grids are feasible, universal electrification could be secured earlier, with endeavours on both the central grid and mini-grids,” he continued.
Sources: Myanmar Times