World Bank is spearheading an off-grid energy strategy solution to help improve Myanmar’s chronically underdeveloped power infrastructure.

Khant Zaw, director general at the country’s Department of Rural Development (DRD), said US$90 million would be used for implementation of off-grid projects which would run from 2016 to 2021.

Upon completion, the project aims to implement solar energy home system in 8,400 villages and mini-grid projects in 350 villages that are situated over 10 miles away from the national grid.
“Nearly 100,000 households will benefit from the project that can also provide electricity to 16,000 public buildings and 40,000 streetlights. We will continue our efforts until we reach the nationwide electrification target by 2030,” said the official.

He said more than 80,000 households in 1,300 villages would have access to electricity by solar home system and mini-grid projects would be implemented in 34 villages in 2017-18 fiscal year.

During 2016-2017 fiscal year, the project has connected solar home systems for 140,000 households in 2,708 villages. Additionally, mini-grid projects were implemented in 10 villages to expand electricity access in remote areas.  

World Bank statistics show more than 70 percent of Myanmar’s population have no access to electricity. In this respect, the organisation has been working closely with the government to expand the national grid and implement off-grid projects. The Ministry of Energy and Electricity takes care for on-grid projects while theDRD is responsible for off-grid solutions.   

WB has approved $400 million for Myanmar’s national electrification project, $310 million of which will go to the expansion of national grid, and the remaining $90 million will be spent for the DRD’s off-grid projects.

The project also assures funding and technical assistance from other development partners including Asian Development Bank, German International Cooperation Agency (GIZ), Japan International Cooperation System, German Development Bank (KFW), International Cooperation Development Funds and Italy Soft Loan.  

Khin Zaw, permanent secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Irrigation, said the government would prioritise on ensuring access to electricity for those who live in remote areas where the national grid does not reach.