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Thursday, May 24, 2007

Electricity consumption soars in Xieng Khuang

The demand for electricity has almost doubled in the northern province of Xieng Khuang, due to a growth in processing factories and services.

The director of the provincial Energy and Mines Department, Mr Sountha Khounyotha, told Vientiane Times on Tuesday that the demand for electricity has soared from 1.5 megawatts last year to 2.5 megawatts this year.

The province is now into the second phase of its electricity network expansion project, ensuring more and more families have access to the grid.

The second phase of the project began in 2005, and is expected to be completed in 2008. So far, the installation of electricity poles is complete, and cables are now being installed, Mr Sountha said.

The project has already expanded electricity to several focal development areas in the province.

Today, 34 percent of families in the province have access to electricity, which includes power from generators and solar power systems.

The province has 569 villages with a total of 37,803 families.

The province forecasts that at least half of these families will have electricity by 2009.

Provincial authorities plan to continue expanding the installation of solar power systems to rural communities, with the aim of improving the lifestyles of those who live in remote areas.

The province is preparing to install 400 solar power system sets in rural communities next month, with another 1,000 sets planned for installation next year.

Mr Sountha said the World Bank had provided financial support for the solar power project in the form of a loan.

The province intends to pay back the funds lent from the bank by collecting money from people who benefit from the project.

He said one solar power set cost about 2.8 million kip (US$300), and users must pay this money back within three to five years, according to their contract.

However, the province is also putting in great efforts to ensure more and more families have permanent future use through hydropower projects.

Many more hydropower projects are expected to go ahead in the province, including the Nam Ngum 5 and Nam Mor hydropower dam projects.

By Manichanh Pansivongsay
(Latest Update May 23, 2007)

More local power needed to meet industrial growth

The government has announced plans to introduce more hydro-power projects to supply electricity to meet growing local demand, particularly with the growth of new industry around the country.

It will also conduct detailed surveys on the number of factories being built in Laos each year, and what additional electricity demands there may be in the future.

Director General of the Ministry of Energy and Mines' Department of Electricity, Mr Homphone Bouliyaphon, said yesterday that Laos currently does not have enough reserve electricity to supply new factories being built amid the country's growing economy.

Most of the hydro-electricity produced in Laos is intended for export to neighbouring countries, but can be bought back when local demands increase because of new industrial developments. This has an impact on the national economy.

“Today, agreements between investors and the government to export electricity to other countries stipulate that only 5 to 10 percent of the supply will go to local villagers,” Mr Homphone said.

“The only way to ensure new factories have a sufficient electricity supply is to establish more hydro-power projects to produce enough energy for the country.”

Current hydro-power projects primarily built for local supply in Laos include Nam Ngum 5, Nam Lik 1 and 2.

Mr Homphone explained that, previously, information about new industry had not been comprehensive enough for sectors to make plans for projected demands on the electricity grid.

Electricity du Laos, the country's main electricity company, is already earning almost US$20 million a year from exports of electricity to Thailand and Vietnam , but around US$8 million of its electricity has been bought back from these countries to meet local needs.

Last year, the cost of electricity imports increased to US$11 million due to developments in the provinces of Khammuan, Savannakhet and Bokeo, which re-imported their power to meet local demands.

“During the dry season, we use a lot of electricity, causing us to buy back power from neighbouring countries,” Mr Homphone said.

Laos has plans to build another 29 hydro-power projects by 2020, aspiring to become the ‘battery' of Asia . Currently, many dam projects are under survey and construction, to fulfil plans to export 5,500 megawatts of electricity to Thailand by 2015.

But Mr Homphone was also concerned about climate change from deforestation in watershed areas which could impact the operation of hydro-power projects.

“We will work in cooperation with relevant sectors to ensure our watershed is protected,” he said.

Mr Homphone said the cost of electricity in Laos was considered low and his department would review electricity prices again in 2012. “We still don't know whether we will increase or decrease the price. This will be decided after thorough discussions between the relevant sectors,” he said.

Currently, Electricity du Laos is concentrating on improving the electricity system to reduce blackouts during the wet season. The improvements will involve updating transformers and installing new cables in some areas.

The company has given notice to inform the public about planned electricity blackouts, to avoid inconvenience to residents.

(Latest Update May 23, 2007)

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Rural electrification plan

As shown in this picture, red colour shows the area already electrified, green colour - the area is being electrified, white area - not electrified.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Luang Prabang 1993

In 1993 I got a job in Thalat-Lauang Prabang 115 kV transmission line Project. After a short training I was sent there by plane. At that time the condition of road N0.13-North which links Vientiane capital to Luang Prabang, was so bad. At that time the Vietnamese road construction company was taking care of it. 

In Luang prabang, the city was not called the world herritage city yet, had limited electricity. There was one small hydropower plant- Nam Dong and a diesel generator for supplying the city with electrical energy. 
The energy generated was not sufficient for all villages in the city,  so they had to plan and decide that which day which village to supply. The villagers could use electricity from 7 p.m to 10 p.m each day just for lighting purpose.

After the completion of the project in 1994 together with North 13th road, Luang Prabang has changed. It got energy through transmission line from Nam Ngum dam which allowes Luang Prabang citizens to use electricity 24 hours a day all villages together.
The link to Vientiane capital through orth 13th road has made prosperity for trading and tourism. Nowaday Luang Prabang is the first place where the tourists whish to see in Lao PDR.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Laos is studying possiblity to build dams in the Mekong river

Mekong is the biggest river in Laos. It is the international river too. It flows through the territories of Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam. Building dams in this river can effect those countries. But dams could bring a lot of money to Laos from selling electricity to Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam.
The Malaysian is conducting a feasibility study on Don Sahong, Champasak Province and The Thai conducting a feasibility study in Xayaboury Province.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Technical and non-technical losses

Long time enough that I had no time for updating this blog. I got new promotion in my job and it is not about technical matters any more. But I got chance to return to Bokeo Province, the place where I used to work on the data analyzing project for EDL. My friends there said EDL now has problem with energy losses including technical and non-technical losses.

Technical loss is from network and transformers but non-technical loss is from debt. EdL has a lot of debt from government buildings such as hospitals, ministries, radio.. They have no money to pay the bills for electricity.

EDL staff study a lot about losses, load flow and voltage drop to keep overall losses lower 13%. Their problem is they still don't know neither how much is technical nor non-technical energy losses.