Dawei power station
The Dawei power station has gone through several incarnations. The proposal was originally for a 4,000-megawatt (MW) power complex, but was cancelled in 2012. Later, the project was revised to be a 400 MW coal-fired power station in Tanintharyi, Myanmar. In 2014, it was reported the plant would be 500 MW and powered by natural gas.
The map below shows Dawei, the approximate location where the coal plant would have been built.
The project was originally 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. 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 was 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 would be 100 percent owned by Thailand, would be used both for export to Thailand and to supply the electricity demand of new industrial estates in Tavoy.
The project site area was 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 would have to be relocated from the project site area.
The first phase of the project would be done in a five-year plan from 2010 to 2014; the second phase would be from 2014 to 2017, and the third phase would 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, would cost US$58 billion. The first phase of the project called for the port, coal-fired power plants, an industrial zone, a highway, and railroad to be built in the 2010-14 period. The cost of the first phase was approximately US$8.6 billion. This phase would be followed by the 160-kilometre, six-lane road, and railroad which would 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.
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."
In May 2013, a presentation on the Dawei Deep Sea Port and Special Economic Zone by H.E. Kittiratt Na Ranong, Thailand's Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, included a first 5-year project that included a 36 MW gas-fired plant, a 180 MW gas-fired plant, and a 600 MW "clean coal fired plant."
In February 2014, Burma’s Ministry of Energy approved a plan to build a 500-megawatt natural gas power plant in Dawei. The project would initially involve the construction of a 50 MW plant fueled by natural gas from the offshore Zawtika field, operated by Thailand’s PTTEP, and was expected to come on stream later that year. The first phase of the remaining 450 MW gas project could be completed within eight months. News reports said the generated power would be distributed to local villages, but made no mention of the Thailand-backed Dawei Special Economic Zone, which would likely be the largest consumer.
Environmental groups in Burma and Thailand 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 had been built in the Dawei deep-sea port project site, which is near Mayingyi, Hteingyi and Mudu villages.
Local environmentalists were 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.
Sponsor: Italian-Thai Development Public Company
Location: Dawei, Tanintharyi, Myanmar
Coordinates: 14.0833, 98.2
- Original proposal - Cancelled
- Second proposal - Cancelled as coal plant (to be developed as a 500 MW gas plant)
- Original proposal: 4,000 MW
- Second proposal: 500 MW (1 x 50 MW; 3 x 150 MW)
Projected in service:
Estimated annual CO2:
Source of financing:
Resources and articles
- Min Thet, "4,000-MW power plant project cancelled in Dawei," Mizzima, January 9, 2012
- "Energy Ministry Approves Dawei Power Plant," The Irrawaddy, February 28, 2014
- Italian-Thai Development Public Company, "Translation," Italian-Thai Development Public Company website, November 4, 2011
- "Thailand to Build Coal-Fired Power Plant in Burma," Thailand Construction News, March 3, 2011
- "The Roadmap to Real Opportunities for Thailand and ASEAN" (speech) and "Dawei Project the New Asian Gateway," (slideshow) H.E. Kittiratt Na Ranong (speech) and H.E. Niwattumrong Boonsongpaisan (slideshow), May 22, 2013, slide #26