By Dorothy Davis
Myanmar's government has decided to stop construction of a multi-billion-dollar, 4,000 megawatt coal-fired power project at the Dawei Special Industrial Zone in response to public opposition.
At a briefing held in Yangon, energy minister Khin Maung Soe informed reporters that the government decided to halt the project in response to concerns from the public about the possible environmental impact of the planned coal-fired power plants. However, Soe added the government was still considering plans to move forward with a smaller 400 MW power plant at the site.
Project developer Italian-Thai signed a contract last November with Ratchaburi Electricity Generating Holding to build the coal-fired plants with a combined capacity of 4,000 megawatts to generate power for the $58 billion Dawei Special Industrial Zone development.
The Dawei Special Industrial Zone is slated to include a deep-sea port, a large scale oil refinery and a petrochemical factory that would all be supported by the power generated from the now halted coal-fired power plants.
According to Reuters, the unit heading investment in the industrial zone said it had not been notified by the government and was confident the power plant would still go ahead, perhaps using natural gas instead.
"If they don't want coal-fired power plants, we have to look for other fuel sources. It could be natural gas, and we'd need to discuss how to supply that," Somchet Thinnaphong, managing director of Dawei Development Co, told Reuters.