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Thursday, December 27, 2007

President attends Xekhaman 3 hydro ceremony

President Choummaly Sayasone and his wife, along with senior Lao and Vietnamese officials, took part in a ‘river closing' ceremony on Thursday as part of the construction of the Xekhaman 3 hydropower plant, in Dakcheung district, Xekong province.

With the changing of the course of the river, the water will now flow into the tunnel leading to the dam.

The ceremony was hosted by the Viet-Lao Power Joint Stock Company, which signed an agreement with the Lao government for the project in 2006 and will concede the project for a period of 30 years.

Lao Standing Deputy Prime Minister Somsavat Lengsavad, Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister Hoang Trung Hai and project representatives also attended the ceremony.

“This project highlights the special solidarity and cooperation between our Parties and nations, at the same time contributing to socio-economic development and the eradication of poverty in Laos ,” said Mr Somsavat at the ceremony.

He observed that the plant was the largest investment in hydropower between Laos and Vietnam ; it would bring in considerable revenue for the state and lead to the development of infrastructure in the rural areas.

“ Laos and Vietnam cooperated in fighting common aggressors during the Indochina War; now we are working together to develop our two countries,” he said.

Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister Hoang Trung Hai said the Lao and Vietnamese governments had a contract for cooperation in the field of electricity generation, with Laos agreeing to supply Vietnam with 3,000MW by 2020.

“An abundance of natural resources has given Laos tremendous opportunity. Rivers enable Laos to harness hydropower with a capacity of some 23,000MW, generating 100 billion kWh of energy,” he said.

As well as this project, Vietnam will continue to cooperate with Laos in the investment and development of the Xekhaman 1, Xekhaman 4 and other hydropower projects in Laos .

Song Da Corporation of Vietnam is building the dam, which is scheduled for completion in 2009.

“So far, construction work on the Xekhaman 3 project is about 30 percent complete,” said the Director General of Song Da Corporation, Mr Duong Khanh Toan.

The plant is costing US$273 million, with a capacity of 250MW and will generate 1 billion kWh of energy per year for export to Vietnam . Laos holds a 15 percent share in the project.

Laos entered into an agree ment with Vietnam for the production of hydroelectric power in July 1998 and plans to export about 2,000MW of power to Vietnam between 2003 and 2010.

The Deputy Director General of the Energy Promotion and Development Department of the Ministry of Energy and Mines said in June that the government's development plans specify that Laos will complete 29 hydroelectric power development schemes, with a total installed capacity of 8,657MW.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Laos, Japan agree on hydroelectric power project

25/12/2007 -- 4:17 PMVientiane (VNA) – The Lao government and Japan’s electric company Kaisai have agreed to cooperate in building a 60.8 MW hydro-electric power plant in Champassak province of Laos.

Under the agreement, the Lao side will contribute 25 percent of the total investment capital and prepare space for the construction of the Kotam hydroelectric power plant.

Meanwhile, Kaisai will be responsible in building a storage tank for the plant by funds provided by the Japanese government.

According to the Japanese company, the construction of the 30-year-project is scheduled to finish in 2015. The plant is expected to start its operation to export power to Thailand in the same year. –Enditem

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Laos-Thailand further cooperation on electricity production

(KPL) Dr Bosaikham Vongdala, Minister of Energy and mines of Laos PDR and Dr Piyasavat Amaranan, Minister of Energy of the Kingdom of Thailand signed on 22 December in Vientiane a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to further their co-operation on electricity development.
Under the MoU signed in Vientiane last week, Thailand will buy from Laos 5,000 MW in 2015 and 7,000 MW in following years.
To realise the plan, the Lao government will build a series of power plants, mainly hydro-electricity plants. The 615MW Nam Ngum power plant and the 1,070MW Nam Theun power plant 2 are under construction to serve export of electricity to Thailand.
Existing 11 large-scaled and 40 small-scaled power plants in Laos have a combined capacity of 670MW, meeting demands for the domestic production and consumption and export.
The Lao government also set up a plan to export 3,000MW of electricity to Viet Nam by 2020. The meet the target, the country has to build 29 more large-scaled power plants with a total capacity of nearly 9,000 MW.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Hydropower project awaits permission

The feasibility study and road design for the Namkong 1 hydropower project in Attapeu province has now been completed, according to the project's director.
“We submitted the results of the feasibility study to the government this month, and we're now waiting for permission to proceed,” said the Director of the Region Hydropower Stations Lao Co Ltd, Mr Vasily Morgun, in an interview during a meeting on environmental and social impacts last Friday in Vientiane.
He explained that the results of the feasibility study will be the most important part of the project in its initial stages, before it can move on to the construction phase.
Further agreements to be reached will include those relating to concessions and project development. The company will also have to sign an agreement on the establishment of a joint venture with the government.
“We hope we will get permission to proceed with the project by November next year, the same time we hope to get permission for our Xekong 4 hydroelectric power project in Xekong province,” Mr Morgun said.
The company hopes to start the construction of Namkong 1 at soon as it receives permission and, if the project is on schedule, it should begin generating power in 2013.
The Namkong 1 will have an installation capacity of 150MW to generate energy mainly for export; the project directors of the Region Oil Company of Russia signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the government in December 2005.
The company also completed designs for a road to the project area, and has already asked for permission to begin building it.
“We will begin construction immediately once we get permission,” Mr Morgun said.
Currently the investment cost of the Namkong 1 is known only to the government and the investor, but Mr Morgun says the company may spend up to 16 trillion kip (US$1.7 billion) on Namkong 1, Sekong 4 and Sekong 5 combined.
The Deputy Head of the Water Resources and Environment Administration, Mr Noulinh Sinhbandhit, said the Namkong 1 dam would be 85 metres high and 379 metres long, and its reservoir will be about 21.8 square kilometres.
“According to the study, we can see that the impacts will be less significant than those of other hydropower projects,” Mr Noulinh said.
Friday's meeting was organised to discuss environmental and social effects, including forests and fisheries, villagers and historical sites.
“The hydropower sector is now booming in Laos, which is why the government now has policies and regulations to study the negative effects and find ways avoid them as much as possible,” Mr Noulinh said.

By Phonsavanh Vongsay (Latest Update December 18, 2007)

NT2 hydropower plant progress assessed

The Nam Theun 2 (NT2) hydropower project in Khammuan province is continuing to manage social and environmental impacts as construction progresses.
Work on the dam began in 2005 and, based on a 5-year timeline, is on schedule while the social and environmental programmes that are based on a longer timeline of up to 12 years are continuing to make progress.
“Currently the project is about 70 percent complete,” said the Director General of the Energy Promotion and Development Department, Mr Xaypaseuth Phomsoupha.
He was speaking on Friday during an interview at the World Bank (WB) briefing on the NT2 semi-annual update at the bank's office in Vientiane, with a video link to Bangkok, Thailand.
Work completed to date includes the resettlement of villagers, construction of the main dam, excavations and the powerhouse.
“We are now waiting for the installation of the machinery,” Mr Xaypaseuth said.
The project is currently installing a 500kV transmission line, 135km long, from the powerhouse to Savannakhet province.
“This installation will be finished by the end of next year,” Mr Xaypaseuth said.
According to the joint WB and Asian Development Bank (ADB) report, significant progress has been made in ensuring the proper resettlement of 6,200 villagers from 17 villages who have had to move from the area that will eventually be the reservoir on the Nakai Plateau.
A third of the new houses are complete, with new roads, water pumps, toilets, schools and electricity all in place. Construction of the remaining houses and facilities is well advanced and expected to be completed by May 2008.
About 200 villagers already have electricity in their homes for the first time, as well as new, all-weather roads that connect them to towns and villages nearby.
“The full relocation process will be completed before impoundment can begin in August,” Mr Xaypaseuth said.
Villagers being resettled are also in the process of developing new livelihoods with a focus on agriculture, livestock, forestry and fishing. Activities include rice farming, seasonal crops, fruit trees, pig and frog raising, livestock, forest products and subsistence fishing in the future reservoir.
People who used to make US$410 per household a year in 2005, will be making at least US$820 per household a year by 2012, he predicted.
The semi-annual update is a joint report by the WB and ADB on the implementation of the hydropower project. The objective of the briefing was to share the assessment of the World Bank and ADB on the progress, issues and activities of the project with the government, donors, NGOs and the public.
The next joint WB/ADB report is expected to be issued ahead of reservoir impoundment in June 2008.
The project is an investment of more than 11.8 trillion kip (US$1.2 billion) and will have an installed capacity of 1,070MW with six generators for local supply and export.
The hydropower plant is a joint venture between the Lao government, which holds 25 percent of shares, and foreign investors holding a 75 percent stake. The WB and the ADB are two of 27 financing parties.

By Phonsavanh Vongsay (Latest Update December 17, 2007)