Mini-Grids: Myanmar’s Next Decentralized Technology Revolution
Published by Power for All
After wireless telecom in Myanmar was opened to private competition, the ensuing market transformation has provided over 50 million SIM cards to a country of 54 million people, 10 times the number of all phone connections just 4 years ago. The cost of a single SIM card was as high as US$1500. Today, one can be purchased for as little as US$1.
The same fundamental drivers of change are also developing in the electricity sector. In last century’s centralized electricity paradigm, large power plants were built near the energy resource being utilized such as hydro or fossil fuels and required large, high-voltage cables to bring the electricity over hundreds of miles to the points of consumption. The reason why over 65% of Myanmar’s population doesn’t have grid electricity today is the same reason why they did not have landline telephones: building cables to remote villages is expensive and neither villages nor the utility can afford to pay that high cost.