Vietnam needs clearer windpower laws: experts

These were among the petitions related to administrative procedures that were raised at a validation workshop held in HCM City last week.

The aim of the workshop was to create more opportunities for further wind power.

The Validation Workshop on “Wind Power Investment Guidelines” was co-hosted by the Deutsche Gesellschaft fur Inter-nationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH in Vietnam and the General Directorate of Energy (GDE) under the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MOIT) in Vietnam.

Aurelien Agut, a GIZ consultant, said that interest to invest in small wind turbines was strong, but there were no clear regulations on the import of small turbines as well as on relevant procedures.

China’s Sudden Dam Water Releases Killing Wildlife in Lower Mekong River Basin

It’s not just humans but also animals downstream who are affected every time water is released from Chinese dams into the Mekong River.
“The survival rate of baby birds has dropped to less than 60% over the past three years, as their nests lie on the riverfront and the water level of the Mekong is so unpredictable,” lamented the administrator of a Facebook page devoted to bird lovers.

Community rights clause not fooling anyone

The right of citizens and communities to protect the environment against harmful development projects is now back in the draft constitution, thanks to fierce pressure by civil society nationwide. So people can relax now, right? Not a chance.

Face it. The military regime is in it for the long haul. Their diktats are the ultimate rules of the land. The community rights clause in the draft will be of no help because it has also been heavily diluted, turning active citizens and communities into state vassals.

Since the beginning of this year, the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) has issued a series of orders under the special powers of Section 44 in the interim charter to eliminate legal obstruction and fast-track mega projects. First it was an order to bypass land-zoning laws to speed up the government’s project to create special economic zones in 10 border provinces, which also faces fierce opposition from locals. That was in January.

China seeks ‘new chapter’ in first visit with Myanmar’s Suu Kyi

China and Myanmar pledged to open a “new chapter” in their sometimes strained relationship, raising the prospect that stalled Chinese investment projects in the Southeastern Asian country could be allowed to resume.

Aung San Suu Kyi, head of Myanmar’s ruling National League for Democracy and newly installed foreign minister, and her Chinese counterpart, Wang Yi, said the two had “reached consensus” to approach existing problems through negotiations. Wang’s trip — the first high-level diplomatic visit since Suu Kyi’s party filled top government offices last week — signaled China’s interest in firming up ties tested by the previous military-backed government’s halt of projects such as the $3.6 billion Myitsone dam.

China firm wins Myanmar approval for $3 bln refinery

Chinese state-controlled commodity trader Guangdong Zhenrong Energy Co has won approval from the Myanmar government to build a long-planned $3 billion refinery in the Southeast Asian nation in partnership with local parties including the energy ministry, company executives said on Tuesday.

The project, which also includes an oil terminal, storage and distribution facilities, would be one of the largest foreign investments in decades in Myanmar. Myanmar currently imports most of its fuel.

The Myanmar Investment Committee granted the Chinese firm approval to build a 100,000 barrels-per-day (bpd) refinery in the southeast coastal city of Dawei, Li Hui, a vice president of Guangdong Zhenrong and head of the company’s refining business, told Reuters.

For Myanmar, temptation of cheap coal ‘hard to ignore’

Myanmar’s new government is set to mushroom coal’s share of its energy mix, despite manifesto pledges to boost clean energy and cut air pollution.

The National League of Democracy (NLD) took power last Wednesday, formally ending nearly five decades of oppressive military junta.

Aung San Suu Kyi’s party will stick to existing targets to increase coal-fired power from 2% to 30% within 15 years, as it expands energy access in a country with one of the world’s lowest electrification rates.

In Burma’s wildest corner, jade, drugs and rebels will test the new government

The jade tycoon of Burma lives behind stone walls and a sophisticated security system. A visitor must be buzzed through a gate into the garden, pass a hunk of jade as big as a compact refrigerator, enter through a sliding screen and glide by the preserved tusks of the family elephant before sitting down with the man himself.

Yup Zau Hkawng is a well-known figure in Burma’s Kachin state, a broker in the peace process between armed rebels and the military and one of the few ethnic Kachin to own a jade mining business.

Burma’s northernmost state is home to 1.2 million people and some of the country’s most intractable problems — including a rapacious jade mining culture, opium cultivation, environmental devastation, controversial development deals with China, and an armed insurgency. Kachin may pose one of the stiffest challenges to the new democratically elected civilian government, led by Aung San Suu Kyi, that has taken over a country that suffered decades of military rule.

Vietnam seeks Netherlands’ help in preserving water in Mekong Delta

Deputy Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Chu Pham Ngoc Hien made the call at the fifth meeting of the Vietnam – Netherlands Intergovernmental Committee on Climate Change Adaptation and Water Management in Hanoi on March 30.

He noted that the issue had been raised in the committee’s fourth meeting but so far no suitable partners were found for the work.

The Deputy Minister highlighted the success of Mekong Delta Plan, adding that after reviewing the recommendations made by the plan, Vietnam realised that more in-depth measures are needed to improve water management in the Delta.

UPA signs B10bn Dawei power plant deal

The signing ceremony was held on Monday to mark the start of investment in a 200-megawatt plant to be located in Kanbauk.

Mr Upakit said the move to develop the 200MW power plant came after the first step last June, when subsidiary Andaman Power and Utility Co (APU) signed a contract with the Tanintharyi regional government to supply electricity and develop the 20MW gas project in Dawei.