On the sum­mit’s side­lines with Fron­tier Myan­mar

Mizzima Business Weekly - - AFFAIRS // NEWS - For more in­for­ma­tion, visit http://www.fron­tiermyan­mar.com/

Fron­tier Myan­mar is a re­search and ad­vi­sory firm that was es­tab­lished in 2014, is head-quar­tered in the UK and also has of­fices in Libya. It spe­cialises in nav­i­gat­ing opaque mar­kets where re­li­able data is scarce. Fron­tier Myan­mar’s Busi­ness De­vel­op­ment Man­ager of Energy An­toine Dro­goul and Re­search Man­ager Jack Fowler spoke to Mizzima Weekly’s Jes­sica Mud­ditt dur­ing the Myan­mar Green Energy Sum­mit held in Yan­gon.

Why did you de­cide to at­tend the Myan­mar Green Energy Sum­mit 2015?

AD: We’re here to meet peo­ple and to lis­ten to dis­cus­sions about what may hap­pen. Green energy is an emerg­ing sec­tor in Myan­mar; there’s just a lit­tle bit here and there in terms of de­vel­op­ments. Most of the peo­ple I’ve met dur­ing the two days of the sum­mit have been prospec­tive play­ers – that is, they are look­ing to get in­for­ma­tion on how the mar­ket will move, or the peo­ple in­volved in it and how things work with the min­istry. It’s mostly busi­nesses that aren’t es­tab­lished with of­fices in Myan­mar and lack a clear view of the mar­ket, but are in­ter­ested in com­ing.

JF: I’d also add that a lot of Min­istry [of elec­tric power] of­fi­cials have been here at the sum­mit, es­pe­cially yesterday. I think this shows a cer­tain amount of com­mit­ment to green energy. The gov­ern­ment does have a plan to achieve 100 per­cent elec­tri­fi­ca­tion by 2030 – and within that plan there is a sec­tion for re­new­able energy. Al­ter­na­tives to tra­di­tional forms of energy, such as tur­bines and so­lar power, could play a role in pro­vid­ing energy to parts of the coun­try that are so re­mote they can’t be con­nected to the grid.

Myan­mar’s gov­ern­ment pol­icy ex­cludes hy­dropower as a re­new­able source of energy, which con­tra­dicts the state­ments of some of the pan­elists at the sum­mit. Which view is cor­rect?

AD: Hy­dropower is widely con­sid­ered re­new­able. In Myan­mar, the mon­soon is the big­gest sup­plier of hy­dropower – the mon­soon rains feed into the coun­try’s largest river, the Ay­er­awaddy: it isn’t a case of ice melt­ing. But the is­sue is to en­sure that hy­dropower can gen­er­ate con­tin­u­ous elec­tric­ity in Myan­mar.

Do you think that due to re­new­able energy be­ing a nascent sec­tor in Myan­mar, the play­ing field is quite level in terms of po­ten­tial in­vest­ment, both for­eign and lo­cal?

JF: ‘Best’ doesn’t nec­es­sar­ily mean the most ap­pro­pri­ate: it’s im­por­tant to take a long term view of things. There aren’t many ex­perts on re­new­able energy in Myan­mar be­cause the sec­tor is still grow­ing glob­ally. It’s im­por­tant to have Myan­mar-ap­pro­pri­ate in­vest­ment and tech­nol­ogy. There are a lot of com­pa­nies who are for­ward­ing their spe­cial­ties based on Euro­pean mod­els. With­out giv­ing spe­cific ex­am­ples, I’d say it re­mains to be seen how those ex­perts and spe­cial­ists ap­ply their knowl­edge here or whether the growth of the in­dus­try here is bet­ter suited to dif­fer­ent spe­cial­ists and tech­nolo­gies.

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