Thai-Myanmar Energy Ties
June 10, 2007
Piyasvasti: Thailand Not Buying Power From Myanmar
Thailand has denied it has agreed to buy electricity from the
controversial hydropower dam on the Salween River in Myanmar, saying the
present government is not looking for cheap energy supply from that
Thai Energy Minister Piyasvasti Amranand said the Electricity Generating
Authority of Thailand (EGAT) had never signed any contract with Myanmar to
purchase electricity but had merely inked a memorandum of understanding
(MoU) to conduct a feasibility study on the project.
"If someone is clearing road, that's their business. Our government's
policy is different from the previous government, different from five
years ago," he told Bangkok-based foreign correspondents during a talk on
"Renewable Energy Policy in Thailand" in the southern resort island here
Piyasvasti said the present government, which came to power after the Sept
19 coup that ousted former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, was looking
to Laos, another neighbour, to meet its power supply needs, with the
possibility of buying 5,000MW (Megawatts) daily.
"We intend to buy more power from Laos and we are encouraging Thai
investors to invest there. Anything beyond 2015, we will look at China,
but it all depends on the next government," he said.
Thaksin government's friendly business relations with the military junta
in Myanmar was criticised by international human rights groups,
particularly its plan to buy hydro power from Myanmar.
Myanmar's state-run "New Light of Myanmar" newspaper had reported that
Thailand's MDX Group had invested about US$6 billion in the Tasang project
in eastern Shan state, the biggest of four planned dams on the Salween
River, the longest undammed waterway in the region.
Construction of the 868m long and 227m high dam, located about 75km from
the Thai border in Shan state, started on March 30.
Once completed, generators installed at the power station would have a
total capacity of 7,110MW. The project is expected to generate 35,446
million kilowatts per hour yearly.
Human rights groups had claimed the project would displace more than
80,000 hill tribe people from their homeland in the Shan, Karenni and
Karen states in Myanmar as well as from the Mae Hong Son province in