Tigyit power station
Tigyit power station is a 120-megawatt (MW) coal-fired power plant in Shan State, Myanmar.
China is behind the power station, which was "constructed in co-operation with military-linked businessmen on land expropriated from indigenous communities." The power station is contested by local people, as well as environmentalists, due to alleged pollution and health problems it causes.
The map below shows the location of the plant in Piinlaung Township, Taunggyi District, Shan State.
Background on Plant
The Tigyit power station (also known as the Tikyit, Tayyit, or Takyit power plant) is the only non-captive operating coal-fired power station in Myanmar. The Pa’O Youth Organization reported that "in September 2001 the regime’s Vice-Senior General Maung Aye arrived and chose the place for the power plant, instructing local military to confiscate over 100 acres of local farm lands. No compensation was provided. China National Heavy Machinery Corporation and Eden Group of Myanmar built the plant under the supervision of the Energy Ministry. Construction began in September 2002 and was completed in April 2005." Operations began in 2005, under the management of China National Heavy Machinery Corporation, with local companies Eden Group and Shan Yoma Nagar. 
The plant has two 60 megawatt generating units and "produces 600 gigawatt hours (Gwh) electricity annually, using 640,000 tons of coal per year from the Tigyit coal mine just one and a half miles away. The electricity is transmitted to a substation in Kalaw. According to Mizzima News, 65 MW of the electricity is slated for transmission to the Pinpet iron factory ... The plant also exports electricity to the nearby Nagar cement plant."
The plant was temporarily closed in 2014 when it ignored a waste management request issued by the Ministry of Electricity and Energy. The request was issued after the ministry received reports about the impact of waste from the plant on the surrounding environment. In 2015, the plant was granted a 22-year license to recommence operations after it pledged to upgrade the plant and conduct the necessary waste management procedures.
In April 2016, it was reported that China’s Wuxi Huagaung Electric Power Engineering was upgrading the Tigyit power station. A tender to operate the coal-fired power plant under build-operate-transfer terms was issued in 2015 and Wuxi Huagaung was selected as the winner.
Operation at the plant restarted in 2017. In August 2019, the central government voted to extend the operation period of the plant for three more years (until 2022). Locals protested the decision, saying the plant had exceeded the land use limits placed on its mining and operation, and built up piles of coal waste polluting local water and agricultural lands.
In response to local reports of the plant exceeding land use specifications, severely polluting the local environment, and jeopardizing health and livelihoods, members of the Myanmar parliament introduced a measure to shutter the plant. In May 2020, Myanmar’s government rejected the proposal.
The Myanmar Alliance for Transparency and Accountability (MATA) followed up by released a statement in response, condemning parliamentary comments and accusing the government of ignoring existing laws and regulations on the matter. The group cited wastewater and ash from the plant as degrading air and water, and thereby impacting the health and livelihoods of local people in the area — consequences which it said that the government was allowing to continue.
According to a 2021 article in the South China Morning Post, the Tigyit coal-fired power station, Myanmar’s largest, is run by a joint venture between the China National Heavy Machinery Corporation and a group of Myanmar businessmen affiliated with the generals behind the February 1, 2021 coup d'état.
- Sponsor: Wuxi Huaguang Electric Power
- Parent: China National Heavy Machinery Corporation, Eden Group, Shan Yoma Nagar
- Location: Piinlaung Township, Taunggyi District, Shan State, Myanmar
- Coordinates: 20.431292, 96.703524 (exact)
- Status: Operating
- Gross capacity: 120 MW (Units 1 & 2: 60 MW)
- Type: Subcritical
- Start year: 2004-2005
- Coal type:
- Coal source:
- Source of financing:
Articles and resources
- "Lights off in Myanmar," New Internationalist, October 27, 2021
- "Poison Clouds: Lessons from Burma’s largest coal project at Tigyit" (Pdf), Pa’O Youth Organisation, January 2011, page 24
- Kyi Kyi Sway, "Official speaks out against coal power," MM Times, November 10, 2016
- Aung Shin, "Chinese firm to restart Myanmar’s only coal plant," Myanmar Times, April 28, 2016
- "Myanmar Angers Coal Region Residents by Extending Life of Polluting Chinese-run Mine," Radio Free Asia, October 17, 2019
- "တီကျစ်ကို အချိန်မီ ကယ်တင်ပါ," The Irrawaddy, November 22, 2019
- "Myanmar Government Rejects Motion to Shutter Polluting Chinese-Owned Coal Plant," Radio Free Asia, May 19, 2020
- "Tigyit Coal-Fired Power Plant ‘Not in Line With Law,’" BNI Multimedia Group, May 26, 2020
- "Ethnic communities in Myanmar opposing a coal plant see their fight get harder," Mongabay, July 29, 2021
- "Resources & Power in Myanmar," Asia Media Centre, July 13, 2021
- "Coal-fired power plant in Myanmar backed by China that villagers feel powerless to oppose," Post Magazine, June 13, 2021 (purchase required)