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Energy in Laos

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Energy in Laos

This page describes energy and electricity production, consumption and import in Laos.

Contents

Hydropower

The Lao government had ongoing plans in 2012 for 80 new hydropower plants for electricity export. Hydropower may have large environmental and social consequences beyond national borders. Non-governmental organisation International Rivers has raised concerns over these plans.

Xayaburi Dam

The $3.8bn (£2.4bn) hydro-electric dam project at Xayaburi Dam has caused tension among Mekong region countries - Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand. In April 2012 a contract was signed for a Thai company, CH Karnchang, to build the dam. The Lao government has pledged to resolve the environmental issues. The government says two big issues - fish migration and sediment flow - will be addressed. Critics say the hydro-electric dam project at Xayaburi would harm the river's eco-system.

Finnish engineering firm Pöyry supported the Lao government in the hydro power construction e.g. by argument that no international agreement is needed. Pöyry Engineering supported in 2012 in Laos Mekong river Xayabar hydropower plant that was opposed at least by Cambodia, Vietnam and environmental and other non-governmental organisations. Pöyry admitted it had not assessed all environmental risks (fish, ecosystem). According to Pöyry they have no responsibility of their reports: Olemme pelkkä konsultti. “We only consult” it said in June 2012.

The aim was to supply electricity mainly to Thailand by a Thai company and to provide export income to the government of Laos. However, the Mekong River Commission recommended to suspend the project. According to Finnish media the Finnish government is among the main financiers of the river commission. As of 2012, the Mekong river down stream is free of dams. Approximately 60 million people live in the area in Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia. Then-U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton visiting the ASEAN countries in July 2012 demanded environmental investigations of the project. During her visit the Lao government made the first official announcement to suspend the project.

Power companies

Power companies responsible for energy and electricity production in Laos include: Electricite du Laos, Glow Energy (a subsidiary of GDF Suez), Lao Holding State Enterprise and Nam Theun 2 Power Company, a consortium comprising French-owned EDF (40% ownership), Thai (35%) and Lao (25%) entities.

References

Energy in Laos Wikipedia


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