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Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Work to start on Nam Tha 1 hydropower dam

The China Southern Power Grid Co Ltd (CSG) will begin work on an access road to the Nam Tha 1 hydropower project site in Bokeo province in March, acc ording to a project official.

The 40-km access road will run from Road No R3 road to the site in Pha-oudom district.

“We expect it will take about six months to build the road,” said the Deputy Manager of the Laos Project Department of China Southern Power Grid International Co Ltd, Mr Liu Jian, in an interview at the national consultation workshop on environmental and social aspects of the project on Friday in Bokeo province.

The road will be used to transport construction equipment to the site.

The company will start the construction of the main structures once the access road is complete, including the dam, powerhouse, spillway and diversion system for power generation.

Mr Liu Jian said the dam would take four years to build and energy generation would begin in 2012. The plant will have three energy generators with an installation capacity of 168MW.

The project includes the construction of a 115-kV transmission line with a length of 82km from the powerhouse to the substation in Huayxai district and another 115-kV transmission line 40kin in length from the powerhouse to another substation, in Luang Namtha province.

“The project will cost about 3.1 trillion kip (US$340 million),” Mr Liu Jian said.

The shareholders will be the CSG and the Lao government, with the company running the project for 30 years.

“The Lao government may hold a 15 to 25 percent stake but we don't know for certain yet because we have to wait and see the concession agreement,” Mr Liu Jian said.

The Deputy Head of the Water Resources and Environment Administration, Mr Sisavath Vitaxay, said Nam Tha 1 will represent an important power resource point in the power grid in northern Laos , and will meet the demands of local residents and the mining industry. It will supply mainly Bokeo and Luang Namtha provinces.

“We'll a lso be able to export electricity to Thailand ,” Mr Liu Jian said.

The dam will create a reservoir of 64 square kilometres to store about 17.55 billion cubic metres of water.

“It will flood 34 villages,” Mr Sisavath said.

The 34 villages include 10 in Pha-oudom district in Bokeo province and 24 in Nalae district in Luang Namtha province. These villages are home to 7,979 people in 1,397 families.

“We must make sure that everyone affected is resettled before the dam begins to store water in 2011,” Mr Sisavath stressed.

It will cost about 280 billion kip (US$32 million) to relocate the local residents, an amount already figured into the overall cost of the project.

By vientiane times
(Latest Update Janurary 14, 2008)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi Panomsinh,

Thanks for posting this news. Perhaps you could provide some more information on the Nam Tha 1 Project if you have it.

For example, what is its present status with GoL? Have the feasibility study and environmental and social studies been approved? Is there a Power Purchase Agreement or Concession Agreement? Developing such a big project is high risk without a definite buyer and yet, the developer seems to be just "hoping" at this stage Thailand will purchase the power, even though access work is soon to begin. And do you know who will finance this project?

Lastly, does your company have any interests in Nam Tha 1 and if so, what? Any further information you can provide in relation to this project and its progress would be interesting I'm sure.


Mekong Watcher