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  • Energy evolution


    Growing awareness of the impact of air pollution and global warming have been driving more investments in energy from renewable sources and moving green energy to the top of many government policy agendas.

    In Southeast Asia, finding the right energy mix is a major challenge as countries strive to ensure that economic growth and environmental protection are compatible.

    “The challenge faced by developing countries is balancing the cost of electricity and conservation of the environment,” Dr Maximus Johnity Ongkili, Minister of Energy, Green Technology and Water of Malaysia, said at Sustainable Energy & Technology Asia (SETA) 2016 held in Bangkok late last month.

  • Holding back the sun: Thailand, solar energy and the “base load myth”


    Thailand’s Energy policymakers recently announced plans to allow the private sector more access to promote solar power in the Kingdom. But restricting the program to just 100 MW of roof-top installations runs counter to emerging advice from within and experience from abroad, that solar power, and renewables generally are the way forward— not the large, unnecessary energy projects at home and in neighboring countries now driving Thailand’s energy policy.

    At the core of this transition is debunking the myth of what’s known as base load: managing that minimal amount of power that is needed 24 hours a day to meet demand. Since electricity demand fluctuates hourly, with peak production in the afternoon when offices, air conditioners, and factories are in full operation, versus the wee hours of the morning when things are more cool and quiet, some power plants run all day long and others just supplement supply when electricity needs rise. Traditional fossil fuel plants have longtime been advanced to service this base load, and Thailand is no different. But techniques in demand management and the ability of solar in particular to meet the high demands during the day can reduce the need for these plants.

  • Doubts raised over Chinese oil refinery plan


    A Chinese-led US$3 billion plan to build Myanmar’s largest oil refinery near the southern city of Dawei has raised questions about China’s strategic intentions in launching apparently commercially unviable projects, while local groups have already signalled their opposition.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Concern over big power projects on exemption list


    POWER-PLANT projects that could generate up to 30,778 megawatts, proposed in the Power Development Plan 2015, have shown up in the city-planning exemption list announced by the National Energy Policy Council, raising concern among environmental activists over unregulated development.

    Thursday’s announcement also includes alternative power projects under the Alternative Energy Development Plan 2015 and LNG (liquefied natural gas) station and receiving-terminal projects under the Gas Plan 2015.

    The controversial Mae Wong Dam in Nakhon Sawan is also on the list appended to the announcement.

    Surachai Trongngam, secretary-general of the Environmental Litigation and Advocacy for the Wants Foundation, said the announcement was clarification of a previous National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) order, 4/2559, and gave more specific information on which projects were being included in the city-law exemption list.

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