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Damming at gunpoint(English Version)

Nov1994 Jan 1995 May

Nov1994 Jan 1995 May 1995 July 1996 Dec 2002 Feb 2003 March 2003 APPENDICES 77 along the whole Salween River, including the upper and lower Salween Dams. High-ranking Thai officials proposed the construction plan of the upper Salween Dam in a meeting of the Joint Working Group. After returning from a visit to Burma, then Thai Foreign Minister Thaksin Shinawatra mentioned that Gen. Khin Nyunt agreed with the results of the feasibility study and was willing to support construction of dams on the Salween Rivers in areas free of conflict. Panya Consultant Company, Ltd. carried out an initial feasibility study of the Salween–Moei-Bhumibol Dam water diversion project and presented their results to the Department of Energy Development and Promotion. Later, the Ministry of Science, Technology and Environment (Thailand) approved this project. The Thai Government signed an MOU with the Burmes regime to purchase 1,500 MW of electricity from Burma by 2010 and further announced the possibility of future MOUs to build dams with the Burmese regime. Mr. Sittiporn Rattanopas, EGAT Governor, went to talk with the Burmese regime on the construction of the upper and lower Salween Dams. He subsequently released news to the press that EGAT would be the sole investor and for this reason, plans to privatize EGAT should be put on hold as EGAT would need to maintain its large capital base to be able to invest in this project. EGAT also announced that the two dams would reduce the cost of electricity in Thailand to 0.15 Baht/unit. During this time EGAT re-activated its campaign for the projects. EGAT informed the Senate Commission of Foreign Affairs that the agreement with the Burma Government, the feasibility study, and the social and environmental impact assessment would begin in 2003. Chinese President of the China National Machinery Equipment Company visited the Minister of Energy, Dr. Prommin Lerdsuriyadet, MD. and showed interest in a 200,000 million Baht co-investment in the Salween Dams. Meanwhile, Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra told the press that the Thai Government would support the project because it would reduce

78 DAMMING AT GUNPOINT the cost of electricity generation since the hydroelectric power plant would not require expenditure for fuel. June 2003 EGAT’s Power Development Plan for 2003-2016 (PDP 2003) listed the Salween Hydropower Project as a potential addition to its main plan and that the dams would start generating power by 2013. Meanwhile, the Minister of Energy told reporters that the Salween Hydropower project was a key strategy of power supply for the country, and Minister would push the project to go ahead if the Salween could supply power at 0.90 Baht. At the same time, China Huadian Corp; Yunnan Development Investment Co., Yunnan Electricity Group’s Hydropower Construction Co, and Yunnan Nu River Electricity Group signed an agreement to form a new “Yunnan Huandian Nu River Hydropower Development Co.” aimed at soliciting project finance to build a cascade of 11 hydropower dams on the Nu River (Upper Salween) in China.

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