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"For the energy sector to develop well, much change is needed in energy policy, regulatory framework and regulatory incentives."

Energy is needed for the basics needs of life – cooking, light, transport, health, communication and aspects of education. It is also considered to be a fundamental development right.

Energy is needed to support business activity in almost every respect, as well as being a key requirement to support economic development.

Energy – well distributed energy – is needed to make access to information inclusive and extensive. Without access to information, accountability, transparency, resources, rights and responsible investment work can't be inclusive or extensive enough.

While most think of electricity, oil and gas as the key energy sources, actually Myanmar's biggest energy usage is currently wood as cooking fuel. This is a sustainable and renewable resource if managed well. Arguably the most pressing energy needs in the country are for small amounts of electricity in rural areas for lighting and information access.

In the past, large-scale energy projects in Myanmar have been bogged down by lack of transparency, human rights abuse and land loss issues and inadequate compensation for those affected. The lack of perceived benefits for local people and increased militarisation in project areas are also issues, with most negative impact being borne by ethnic groups. A more inclusive and focused approach can avoid these issues.

Different ways of thinking about the sector, its approach to inclusion and impacts of technology are needed. Renewable energy opportunities offer great promise for Myanmar. For the energy sector to develop well, much change is needed in community consultation, energy policy, regulatory framework and regulatory incentives.

Spectrum's People Centred Energy Policy Conference in February 2015 aimed to bring perspective and balance to the energy debate. In our Events section can find speaker presentations, photos and a wide range of energy-related downloads, including our essay/compilation Myanmar's Energy Challenge: "Business as Usual" is not working, inclusion and innovation offer access for all. The work highlights a range of considerations for improving policy, progress, practice and thinking around Myanmar's energy future.

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