Home Insider Yangon Electricity Supply Board will Go Public

Yangon Electricity Supply Board will Go Public

Myanmar’s Yangon Electricity Supply Board (YESB) said that it is planning to transform itself

into a listed company for more effective op- eration.

The YESB will retain 51 percent of the share, while the public will be offered 49 percent, officials said, adding that priority will be given to local partners rather than foreign firms.

Myanmar is striving to meet an increasing electricity demand in the country and has drafted an energy bill aimed at curbing the extraction and sale of natural gas to be re- served for generating electricity.

The bill calls for using natural gas extracted inland and offshore from the 2014-15 fiscal year for electricity generation as part of its efforts to supply power to the whole country within more than two years.

Electricity demand in Myanmar is increas- ing because of economic growth.

According to latest official statistics, Myan- mar’s installed capacity from all hydropower sources stands at 4,361 megawatts.

Foreign investment topped the power sector with 19.324 billion U.S. dollars as of August 2014, accounting for 39.11 percent of the to- tal.

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) recent- ly released an excellent report on Myanmar’s energy sector. In it they presented estimates of future demand growth by the Ministry of Electric Power for electricity. They show de- mand doubling from 12,459 million kWh in 2012-13 to 25,683 million kWh in 2018-19, a compound rate of growth of 13% a year. However, the actual production in 2012 ap- pears to be only 10,000 million kWh, and it is unlikely that moving to 2012-13 will raise the total much beyond 10,500 million kWh. Of this output, about 1700 million kWh will be exported. (Electricity exports exceeded 1700 million kWh in both 2010 and 2011.

So, the likely electricity output in 2012-13 available for domestic use will be 3659 mik- Wh below this year’s demand estimate. Pro- duction for domestic use would have to jump by 42% to equal the expected demand. This is a massive shortfall and demand grows by over 1500 million kWh in 2013-14. So for 2013-14, supply net of exports would have to grow by nearly 5200 million kWh to ac- count for the existing shortfall and projected growth, or by nearly 60% over 2012-13.

The assumed growth rate of real GDP is 10.5% and of population is 1.1%. This would give an electricity/GDP elasticity of 1.25, far less than normal. (Vietnam’s electricity grew nearly twice as fast as real GDP.) However, if actual GDP growth is only 6-7%, the assumed demand growth is more in line with regional experience and given the President’s speech in which growth of 7-8% was a target, we can accept the electricity projections.

The ADB report puts natural gas use for electricity generation at 41.23 billion cubic feet in 2011 and the Selected Monthly Economic Indicators puts gas-fired electricity output in 2011 at 2.094 billion kWh. This works out to 19.7 cubic feet per kWh or 20 thousand BTU per kWh.1 Modern single cycle gas tur- bines use 10-11 thousand BTU per kWh and modern combined cycle gas generators use 6- 7,000 BTU per kWh.

Thus, gas generators in Myanmar appear to use about twice as much gas as modern single-cycle gas turbines and three times as much as modern combined cycle gas gener- ators1. With gas costs of $10 per thousand cubic ft, the inefficiency means that the fuel cost per kWh of gas-fired power is 20 cents in Myanmar instead of 10 cents with a mod- ern single cycle turbine or as little as 6 cents with a modern combined cycle generator. Given that these generators are run over 7000 hours a year, the “extra” fuel cost is $700 a year per KW of capacity for a single stage turbine and $1400 per KW for a com- bined cycle generator. Since the investment cost per KW of a new single cycle genera- tor is less than $400 and about $1000 for a combined cycle unit, it would appear that the fuel savings alone would completely pay for replacing the existing turbines in less than one year! Loans should be available to finance such purchases and realistic charges (about ten cents per kWh for combined cy- cle power) would allow rapid recovery of the purchase price. Greater efficiency would also allow the same amount of gas to pro- duce two to three times as much electricity as existing gas turbines, thus reducing the impact of restricted gas supplies.

General Electric claims 61% efficiency or 180 kWh per million BTU on its latest “Flex Efficiency 50” combined cycle generators, but 2010 data from the U.S. Energy Infor- mation Administration suggest 155 kWh per million BTU and about 100 kWh per million BTU from modern single cycle turbines. One thousand cubic feet of natural gas con- tains slightly more than one thousand BTU.