ACO Investment Group, a US-based private-equity fund focusing on Asian emerging markets, has signed an agreement with Myanmar’s Ministry of Electric Power for two 150MW solar energy power plants. Under the agreement, the Group will totally invest in US$ 480 million in the first-ever solar projects in Myanmar.
Myanmar’s Ministry of Electric Power announced a national power report last December and decided to develop renewable energies include hydropower and solar PV. The project, consisting of two 150-MW solar facilities, is expected to account for 10~12% of Myanmar’s power generation when completed in 2016.
Michael Forman, U.S. Trade Representative, said during the signing ceremony: “Efforts like these support the ambitious definition of development that is at the heart of President Obama's trade agenda,” he added. “By promoting trade and investment, we are unlocking even more opportunities for workers and businesses in both countries that promote not only higher incomes at home and around the world, but also drive sustainable development. We're doing this because we know that trade works best when its benefits are broadly shared.”
Currently, Myanmar produces 3,300MW of power per year. The government’s data shows that hydropower contributes 76% of total installed capacity of the country’s power generation mix. The rest are: natural gas, 21%; coal, 4%. Because there are only 20,000 of the 64,000 villages in Myanmar have access to power, the government plans to extend the access up to 40,000 by 2015. ACO’s investment will be a crucial part of the plan. Aside from the forecasted 10~12% of power, the solar projects will create a total of 400 construction jobs and 100 permanent jobs. Additionally, US export content will make up about 20% of the project value, reported The Nation Media.
ACO co-founder Hari Achuthan, a former Credit Suisse Group AG banker, said last year that the fund is betting $700 million on Myanmar as the country offers investors the best growth opportunity in Southeast Asia, according to Bloomberg.
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