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Will the plans for Myanmar coal power plants be halted?

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World Coal,

There are proposed plan to construct eleven coal-fired power plants in Myanmar. The plants will be located in Tanintharyi Region, Mon State, Yangon Region and Ayeyawady Region. Arguments are heating up in Ayeyawady, however, as many are against the proposed plan. Supporters and challengers have recently discussed the proposed plans.

Hla Myat Thwe, regional parliament representative for No 2 Constituency, Yekyi Township, has petitioned against the project and emphasised alternative energy sources, such as as solar, wind and hydropower.

Ayeyawady Regional Prime Minister, Thein Aung supports the plan and has said: "Other types of energy are not possible in Ayeyawady Region. We've already explored solar energy, wind energy and so on. They cost a lot. There is also no investment. In this region, hydropower is difficult to get. We can get natural gas, but the waiting time is unacceptable. I support coal power plants but they must be able to switch to natural gas." The Prime Minister also indicated clean coal technology can help counteract environmental concerns.

Yet Sein Myint, former Deputy Director of Myanmar's Ministry of Mines is against the plant. He said Myanmar has the high potential for hydropower and windpower. "If the prime minister thinks only coal will work, he should prove it. How much does he study this field? China, which used to be addicted to coal, is now turning to wind mills… As an expert, I don't agree with the claim that only coal would work here."

The Prime Minister has stated: "Research for the projects is still ongoing, and a proposal will be submitted to the regional parliament when all of the documents are available. At that time, there will be a public hearing. The projects will be implemented after the approval from Parliament." He indicated that the projects would continue only if the people accept them.

Edited from Press Release by Harleigh Hobbs

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