Dawei power station

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The Dawei power station is a proposed 4,000+ megawatt coal-fired power station which has been flagged by the Italian-Thai Development Public Company as part of a massive project aimed at creating a major industrial and transport hub in the Dawei special economic zone in southern Burma.[1] See Dawei Deep Sea Port and Special Economic Zone for details on the overall project. (Following the 1989 military coup the city's name was changed from Tavoy to Dawei. Company and government reports on the power station proposal only refer to Dawei while international media and citizens groups refer either to Tavoy or Dawei (Tavoy).)

It is proposed that the coal-fired power plant, which would be the largest in Southeast Asia, would be constructed near the Maungmagan beach in Burma. The electricity generated by the power plant, which will be 100 percent owned by Thailand, will be used both for export to Thailand and to supply the electricity demand of new industrial estates in Tavoy.[2]

On January 9, 2012, Electrical Power Minister Khin Maung Soe said plans for the 4,000 MW coal plant would be cancelled, but that they were still considering a 400-MW coal plant to power preliminary projects to be built in the Dawei special economic zone. Soe said, "We made the decision to halt this project after reading the concerns about the environmental impact of this plant in local media reports."[3]

History

The project site area is in the ancient city of Thagara in Tanintharyi Region, which is near Naphu Le village in Yephyu Township, 20 miles northwest of Dawei. The former military junta signed a memorandum of understanding with the Italian-Thai Development Public Co. Ltd. in 2008 and in 2010 signed a 75-year operation agreement.

According to figures compiled by Dawei Region Development Organization, 19 villages and about 32,279 people, 21 schools and 23 religious buildings will have to be relocated from the project site area.

The first phase of the project will be done in a five-year plan from 2010 to 2014; the second phase will be from 2014 to 2017, and the third phase will extend to 2019.

In late 2010, Italian-Thai signed an $8 billion contract for the deep-sea port and infrastructure project in Dawei in the Tanintharyi region of southern Burma. Italian-Thai planned in 2012 to find partners for six projects, including power plants, oil and gas refineries, petrochemical, fertilizer, and steel plants and a port facility. It aimed to sell at least 50,000 rai (20,000 acres) of land at Dawei.

According to initial estimates, the development project, located about 20 miles from Dawei, will cost US$ 58 billion. In the first phase of the project calls for the port, coal-fired power plants, an industrial zone, a highway and railroad will be built in the 2010-14 period. The cost of the first phase is approximately US$ 8.6 billion; followed by the 160-kilometre, six-lane road and railroad which will connect with Kancahnaburi Province in Thailand through Yebyu Township, including oil and gas pipelines running along the super highway route.

In November 2011, the construction company leading the Dawei project, the Italian-Thai Development Pcl, Thailand’s largest construction firm, said it signed an agreement with Ratchaburi Electricity Generating Holding Pcl to build coal-fired power plants to provide electricity to the project and to Burma.

The construction company said in late December 2011 that it expected to reach a conclusion in 2012 on how it would finance the Dawei deep-sea port and infrastructure projects, which would include deep-sea ports, a chemical fertilizer plant, coal-fired power plants, a steel plant, chemical fuel plants, oil refineries, ship maintenance buildings, a railroad, roads and oil and natural gas pipelines.[3]

Opposition

Environmental groups in Burma and Thailand have raised concerns about the damage the coal-firing power plants and other projects would cause to the environment.

The Karen National Union (KNU), which controls nearby areas in the Dawei industrial zone project, prohibited road building for three months, citing the lack of an impact study on local residents and the environment that meets international standards. Local residents said 200 buildings for staff quarters, residential buildings, offices, and meeting halls have been built in the Dawei deep-sea port project site, which is near Mayingyi, Hteingyi and Mudu villages.

Local environmentalists are trying to organize an awareness campaign on the pros and cons of the project among local residents in Dawei. The group said it would send an open letter signed by more than 600 local residents to President Thein Sein and the Human Right Commission calling for closer scrutiny and more green development.[3]

Articles and resources

References

  1. Italian-Thai Development Public Company, "Translation", Italian-Thai Development Public Company website, November 4, 2011.
  2. "Thailand to Build Coal-Fired Power Plant in Burma" Thailand Construction News, March 3, 2011.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Min Thet, "4,000-MW power plant project cancelled in Dawei" Mizzima, January 9, 2012.

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