Yoma Strategic, Norwegian fund in tie-up to build distributed power networks in Myanmar

Yoma Strategic's CEO Melvyn Pun.

SINGAPORE - Mainboard-listed Yoma Strategic Holdings is partnering with Norfund, a Norwegian state-owned investment fund, to establish distributed generation micropower plants and mini grids for generating and distributing electricity to rural communities and telecommunications towers in Myanmar.

Yoma Strategic and Norfund will each hold a 47.5 per cent interest in Yoma Micro Power (S) Pte Ltd (YMP), their newly-set up joint venture company, and the remaining 5 per cent will be held by Mr Alakesh Chetia, an experienced professional in the power infrastructure sector, who will lead the project.

The total initial investment of US$2 million, of which Yoma Strategic will contribute US$1 million, will be used to start the company and fund a pilot programme in the Sagaing Region in Myanmar.

The project expects to secure long term power supply contracts with telecommunications towers and telecommunications network operators in off-grid locations, which will serve as the anchor tenant. Distribution generation micropower plants will be set up around such areas, powered by a combination of PV solar modules, diesel generators and energy storage solutions, with surrounding communities connected through mini grids.

The project aims to generate a commercial return on investment, while providing reliable access to clean electricity in rural locations, allowing villages in remote locations to thrive and develop, said Yoma Strategic in a filing with the Singapore Exchange on Tuesday (May 2).

According to the World Bank only 16 per cent of rural households in Myanmar are connected to the power grid, said the release. The demand for power far exceeds the available production capacity, resulting in regular blackouts, it added.

Commenting on the partnership, Yoma Strategic's CEO Melvyn Pun said, "We hope a successful trial will support our unique proposition to provide reliable and clean energy, in commercially attractive terms to our customers and ourselves, that can be scaled to a large part of the country.

"The project is well poised to benefit from the group's experience in the telecommunications towers business, Norfund's experience in clean energy around the world, and an experienced management team."