Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Lao electricity export up 125 per cent in five years

Lao electricity export up 125 per cent in five years

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
The entrance of Houay Ho Hydropower Plant in Sanamxai, Attapeu province. Mountainous and landlocked Laos, known as the ‘Battery of Asia’, is building dozens of dams at breakneck speed so it can sell energy to power-hungry neighbours as a fast track out of poverty. AFP

Lao electricity export up 125 per cent in five years

From 2016-2020, Laos expanded electricity capacity to 6,457MW for export markets, which represents an increase of 145 per cent over the previous five-year period.

The Ministry of Energy and Mines earned more than 130 billion kip ($14.6 million), up 35 per cent compared to 2011-2015.

Minister of Energy and Mines Khammany Inthirath reported the results on Tuesday at a five-year review meeting on energy and mine development plans for 2016-2020.

Khammany pointed out that Laos has expanded electricity transmission lines, which now extend over 65,563km with 71 stations.

On the back of these results, the ministry is looking to implement its energy development strategy to meet increasing domestic supply and export demand.

The governments of Laos and Thailand have signed a power trade agreement for 9,000MW by 2030.

Laos currently supplies over 5,620MW to Thailand. In 2022, the ministry will increase exports to Thailand via two hydro plants – 520MW from the Nam Theun hydropower 1 plant and 480MW from the Nam Ngum hydropower 3 plant.

Laos also sells over 570MW to Vietnam, and the Lao government expects to increase the power supplied to 1,000MW this year, to 3,000MW in 2025, and to 5,000MW by 2030.

The government sold 10MW of electricity to Myanmar and will sell 20MW more by 2022. Meanwhile, the governments of Laos and Myanmar have signed a cooperation contract on purchasing 100MW of power in 2023, and 300MW in 2025.

Last year, Laos and Cambodia signed an agreement in energy cooperation development of 6,000MW by 2030.

Earlier this year, Laos exported 195MW from the Don Sahong hydropower project with 100MW in March and 2,900MW by 2027 from the hydropower project and the lignite power plant.

Laos has exported 100MW of electricity to Malaysia via Thailand, and the government expects to sell 300MW more this year.

Laos’ electricity generation for domestic supply and export has increased as the installed capacity and number of hydropower plants rises. The country currently has 63 operational hydropower plants with an installed capacity of 7,213MW. These plants can produce 37,035 kWh of electricity a year, an official said.

An additional 37 hydropower plants are under construction. The majority of these are expected to be completed during 2020-2021. When operational, Laos will have 100 hydropower plants with a combined installed capacity of 13,062MW capable of producing an expected 66,944 million kWh a year.

So far, 90 per cent of villages in Laos can access electricity, and 95 per cent of households can tap into the grid.



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