When temperatures soar in Yangon, many locals rub thanka powder on the face to cool down.
Another option – staying indoors cooled by air conditioning units or fans – has become increasingly popular as more families enjoy the benefits of improving incomes resulting from Myanmar’s steady economic growth, and diversification.
This trend however, has led to spikes in electricity consumption on the hottest days, resulting in daily blackouts throughout the summer. And because hydropower comprises more than 60 percent of Myanmar’s energy mix, the situation is more serious during times of drought.
A recent outage lasted 12 hours, and the issue is likely to continue to impact Yangon residents in the near term, because demand for electricity could double over the next four years according to Asian Development Bank (ADB) research. While electricity consumption nationwide is limited to 2,500 megawatts (MW) today, ADB anticipates this could rise to 4,500 MW by 2020, with half of this used in Yangon.
Renowned as Myanmar’s business capital, Yangon has experienced a commercial and population boom. Since 1983, the number of people living in the wider region has nearly doubled to more than seven million people (35 percent of Myanmar’s urban population), and is tipped to reach 10 million by 2040.
While power outages disrupt life in all cities, they are felt especially hard in Yangon which is home to the nation’s largest industrial, commercial, and public sector districts. Much of the city’s energy infrastructure is also aging so repairs are often challenging, and time consuming.
To try resolve the blackout issue, the Union government approved a proposal to spend 30 billion kyats (US$22 million) from the presidential reserve funds to boost power generation capacity.
Fast Power Solution
Under this plan, one of the first solutions sought by the Yangon Regional Government (YRG) was a fast power unit - the 25 MW GE TM2500 mobile aeroderivative gas turbine set.
The ‘first fire’ of the TM2500 mobile power plant.
The TM2500 turbine will play an important role in a program managed by Electric Power Generation Enterprises of the Ministry of Energy and Electricity, and the Yangon Electricity Supply Corporation (YESC), to supply fast power to meet peak energy demand in Yangon said H.E U Win Khaing, Union Minister, Ministry of Electricity and Energy.
“The TM2500 gas turbine generator will be used to provide fast power to areas hit hardest by blackouts, and other emergencies. When it is operating at full capacity, it could produce enough equivalent energy to power approximately 160,000 homes.”
H.E U Win Khaing, Union Minister, Ministry of Electricity and Energy was one of the guests of honor at the TM2500 handover ceremony held at Tharkayta Power Plant in Yangon.
Adding to his comments, U Khine Oo, Chief Executive Officer, Golden Green Energy (GE’s consortium partner for this project) said, “Golden Green Energy is committed to modernizing Myanmar’s energy infrastructure capabilities – it is an essential to support national growth goals and we look forward to working with consortium players, and GE as a technology partner in more projects in the future.”
In terms of operational readiness, GE announced on August 4 that the TM2500 first delivered 25 MW of power on July 25 for the Yangon region, 60 days from the time the order was placed.
GE Myanmar Country Manager, Andrew Lee.
Speaking at an event to mark the handover of the TM2500 set to YRG, Andrew Lee, Country Manager, GE Myanmar said, “As large scale energy projects take years to develop and build, the TM2500 mobile power plant is well-suited to support Myanmar’s short and long-term national energy plans.
“And here in Yangon, where fast power is urgently needed, our complete TM2500 solution has put reliable, efficient power on the grid 60 days after the order was placed – in urgent cases, the set-up time can be reduced to days.”
Mr. Lee added, “The TM2500 set also offers flexibility – fuel wise, they can operate on liquid fuel or natural gas – they can also be connected to the grid, as well as provide electricity to off-grid communities, or in captive mode to supply power to special economic zones and industrial parks.”
The TM2500 mobile power plant - a trailer-mounted gas turbine generator set and containerized balance of plant - can be relocated to other power plants during operation, and maintenance outages, or to remote areas. The TM2500 can also achieve full power within 10 minutes (approximately) making it ideal for providing a base-load bridge to permanent power installations, or generating backup power for factories and industries.
From left: John Sharkey, TM 2500 I&C Lead Project Manager, GE and U Soe Nyunt Naing, Project Manager, RJE Myanmar provided more information about the TM2500’s operational capabilities to U Than Naing Oo, Chief Engineer, Thermal Power Department, Electric Power Generation Enterprise(EPGE), H.E U Phyo Min Thein, Chief Minister, Yangon Regional Government; U Zaw Win, Chief Country Representative, GE, H.E U Win Khaing, and Andrew Lee at the handover ceremony.