Norwegian Firm Wins Contract for Dam Impact Assessment

By The Irrawaddy 16 June 2017

Norwegian engineering consultancy Multiconsult has been appointed by Norway’s state-owned SN Power to carry out an environmental and social impact assessment for the Middle Yeywa dam in upper Myanmar.

The dam is slated for a section of the Myitnge River, also known as the Namtu River, some 50 miles east of Mandalay.

SN Power signed a memorandum of understanding with Myanmar’s previous government in 2014 to develop the dam and began a feasibility study the following year.

Multiconsult project manager Jens Laugen said in a company statement this week, “Our first job will be to check the quality of past environmental studies and ensure that the project can be executed responsibly and sustainably. It will be important to build on the dialogue that SN Power has had to date with the local people.”

SN Power is considering various possible development options for a 43-mile stretch of the waterway between two other hydropower projects on the same river system, the statement said.

“The impact assessment involves assessing the various options and proposing a solution that safeguards the needs of the environment and local communities,” it added.

The Middle Yeywa dam would generate an estimate of up to 690 megawatts of electricity, equivalent to 15 percent of the country’s installed capacity, according to the statement.

The Namtu River is a major tributary of the Irrawaddy River and a number of dams have been proposed or built along its course.

The Upper Yeywa dam, slated for the Kyaukme area of northern Shan State, has aroused considerable local opposition amid a backdrop of conflict, displacement and fighting in the project area.

Multiconsult’s past contracts include impact assessments for the controversial Nam Theun 1, Nam Thuen 2 and Theun Hinboun dams in Laos.

The company employs 2,300 staff and announced a 16 percent rise in revenue to US$350 million in its latest annual report. It is aiming to “double in size” by 2020, according to the report.

In Myanmar, the firm is also advising the energy ministry in relation to the development of the Tha-Htay and Upper Kengtung hydropower stations, according to its statement.

This year SN Power entered into an agreement with AboitizPower of the Philippines to jointly develop potential hydro power plants in Myanmar and Indonesia, according to other reports.