General Electric to Upgrade Rangoon Power Plants

By Hnin Yadanar Zaw 26 November 2014

RANGOON — American multinational General Electric will soon begin upgrading Rangoon’s industrial gas turbines, a spokesperson said on Wednesday, after finalizing an agreement with the government.

GE Chief Country Representative Zaw Win told The Irrawaddy that the company has signed a memorandum of understanding with state-owned Myanmar Electric Power Enterprise (MEPE) and will work out additional details before the end of the year.

“As soon as the final agreement is completed next month, we will begin the research necessary for upgrading the turbines,” said Zaw Win.

Zaw Win said that the conglomerate energy division GE Power & Water will help to develop a “master electricity plan” for Burma.

“The plan will identify what types of power solutions will be most effective and where facilities should be located to maximize efficiency and system stability,” he said.

Details of the agreement are still pending, but MEPE Managing Director Htain Lwin said that GE has made an initial commitment to observing existing turbines in Rangoon Division.

The company expects to eventually upgrade several 30-megawatt turbines in Hlawka and Ahlone townships and 16-megawatt turbines in the Ywarma power plant, Htain Lwin said. He added that the project was expected to be complete by mid-2015.

Industrial gas turbines are a highly efficient source of power if they are geared with heat recovery steam generators, which recycle waste heat released during production.

About 73 percent of Burma’s population still lacks access to electricity, and domestic energy consumption is the world’s lowest at 20 times less than the global average, according to the World Bank.

GE opened its first country office in Burma in May 2013. Company figures tallied total investments in the country at US$2 million to date, primarily in the fields of infrastructure, healthcare, energy and transportation.

Currently ranked as the 26th largest company in the United States by gross revenue, GE has also been listed as the 4th most profitable company in the world by Forbes Global 2000, an annual ranking of the world’s top public companies.