The Lao government has given the green light for two private companies to carry out a feasibility study on the construction of a 220kV transmission line, which would carry electricity from five dams in northern Laos to Vietnam.
If the study is approved, the transmission line will be built from the Nam Ou 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7 dams through the provinces of Luang Prabang and Phongsaly to the Vietnamese border.
The move comes as Laos looks to increase electricity exports in response to the growing demand for energy to supply Vietnam’s growing industrial sector.
A memorandum of understanding (MoU) on the study was signed in Vientiane last week in the presence of senior officials from both sides.
Deputy Minister of Planning and Investment Khamchan Vongsanaboun, on behalf of the Lao government, signed the MoU with representatives of CTC Development Group Sole Co Ltd and Vu Thu Construction JSC (Vietnam).
The feasibility study will take 18 months and, if the results are positive, construction of the transmission line will start soon afterwards. The participating companies say they have the technical and financial capacity to carry out the project, which should benefit both countries.
The feasibility study will include a project design and estimate the cost of construction.
Laos currently exports more than 6,423MW, mainly to neighbouring countries including Vietnam.
Two years ago, the Ministry of Energy and Mines told Vientiane Times that Vietnam wanted to buy 3,000MW of electricity from Laos until 2025. It is expected that this amount will increase to 5,000MW between 2026 and 2030.
In November, the ministry released a report which stated that electricity generated by another three power plants with a capacity of 572MW is now being sold to Vietnam.
According to a Viet Nam News report, the power source development plan for 2025 aims for the total capacity of power plants to be 102,590-105,265MW.
Of this, hydropower will constitute 25,323MW, accounting for 24.1-24.7 per cent; coal-fired power plants 29,679MW, accounting for 28.2-28.9 per cent; renewable energy sources 29,618-31,418MW, accounting for 28.9-29.8 per cent; and electricity imports 3,853-4,728MW, accounting for 3.7-4.5 per cent.
VIENTIANE TIMES/ASIA NEWS NETWORK