The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Government of Myanmar recently held the Forum for Off-grid Renewable Energy Investment in Nay Pyi Taw to discuss investment towards Myanmar’s off-grid renewable energy sector. About 130 representatives from government ministries, development partners, project developers, and investors attended the forum to share their experiences in off-grid renewable energy — viewed as a significant element for the government’s National Electrification Plan. “Having electricity access can create more job opportunities and, consequently, increase family income. That’s why the government is setting up high priorities and striving to provide universal access to electricity by 2030,” said Dr. Aung Thu, Union Minister for Agriculture, Livestock, and Irrigation in his opening speech.
Only a third of Myanmar’s nearly 64,000 villages currently have access to electricity. For the government to meet its 100% electrification target by 2030, it must supply power to 40,000 villages through grid extension and off-grid renewable energy electrification over the next 13 years. “ADB is pleased to introduce a business model for community-based electrification which will serve as a viable model for livelihood development using renewable energy in Myanmar,” said Andrew Jeffries, Director of ADB’s Southeast Asia Energy Division. Financed by the Government of Japan through the Japan Fund for Poverty Reduction, the forum was organized under an ongoing technical assistance for networking and knowledge exchange between Myanmar government officials, project developers, as well as international investors. The objective of these discussions is to examine ways of generating more investment in Myanmar’s off-grid renewable energy sector.
During the forum, case studies were presented about solar photovoltaic mini-grids installed at 12 villages under an ADB initiative. Best practices were assessed for engaging with village communities about proposed off-grid electrification projects. Potential investments in a pipeline of off-grid projects for Myanmar were also discussed. Networking and knowledge exchange during the forum will help formulate guidelines, standards, and regulations for off-grid renewable energy projects that the Government of Myanmar and other development partners can use in future initiatives. ADB, based in Manila, is dedicated to reducing poverty in Asia and the Pacific through inclusive economic growth, environmentally sustainable growth, and regional integration. Established in 1966, ADB is celebrating 50 years of development partnership in the region. It is owned by 67 members—48 from the region. In 2016, ADB assistance totaled $31.7 billion, including $14 billion in cofinancing.