Shweli Dams

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Burma’s Ministry of Electric Power signed the first ever Build-Operate-Transfer agreement with China for a hydropower dam on the Shweli River, a tributary of the Irrawaddy, in northern Shan State in 2006. Two additional dams are planned downstream.

Dam Specifications
Shweli 1
Height: 47 meters
Installed capacity: 600 MW
Annual production: 4,022 Gwh (Latest update: 3.9.2014)

Shweli 2
Height: unknown
Installed capacity: 520 MW (Latest update: 3.9.2014)
Annual production: 2,814 Gwh (Latest update: 3.9.2014)

Shweli 3
Height: unknown
Installed capacity: 1,050 MW (Latest update: 3.9.2014)
Annual production: 3,500 Gwh (Latest update: 3.9.2014)

Companies Involved
The official project owner of the Shweli 1 dam is the Shweli River 1 Power Station Company Limited, a joint venture between the Burmese Ministry of Electric Power and the Yunnan Joint Power Development Company.

Asia World Company
Yunnan Joint Power Development Company (YUPD)
Yunnan Huaneng Lancang River Hydropower Company
Yunnan Power Grid Company
Yunnan Machinery Equipment Import & Export Company Limited (YMEC)
The Yunnan Power Grid Company, a subsidiary of China Southern Power Grid
Sinohydro Corporation (Bureau 14)
Sichuan Machinery and Equipment Import and Export Corporation (SCMEC)
Kunming Hydroelectric Investigation, Design and Research Institute (CHECC)

Engineers generally estimate that it costs US$1 million per 1MW of installed capacity to build a hydropower dam. Depending on the conditions of the dam sites and cost overruns, the investment into the Shweli dams could reach US$1.4 billion.

Income generated from the sale of electricity will depend on the annual production and the buying price. A power purchase agreement has yet to be signed for any of the dams.

Electricity – where will it go?
Electricity will be transmitted to China’s power grid and to government-run mining operations in Burma. Local residents are not confident that they will receive electricity or that if they do, that it will be affordable.

Project Status
Shweli 1 dam is over half completed and construction on the power station is underway. Roads are being cleared and transmission lines installed. For a full situation update, please see Shweli Field Report

A battalion of 300 armed soldiers moved into the village of Man Tat, the site of Shweli 1 dam, in late 2000. Since then, local farmlands have been confiscated, army checkpoints have restricted travel in and out of the village and to farm fields and local women have been forced to marry soldiers. The construction of the dam has destroyed some local farms and wildlife in the area is disappearing. Forced labor has been used to clear roads to bring in machinery and set up transmission lines.

For more information please see the report Under the Boot and

Voices of the Dammed

Development in Burma

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