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Thursday, January 24, 2008

Xekong 4, Namkong 1 hydropower projects move forward

Developers of the Xekong 4 hydropower project in Xekong province and the Namkong 1 hydropower project in Attapeu province presented the results of feasibility studies in Vientiane yesterday.
Under Memorandums of Understanding drawn up on December 22, 2005, and on March 3, 2006, the government had given permission to Region Hydro Power Stations Lao Co Ltd from Russia to conduct feasibility studies of the two projects, in support of the country's socio-economic development plan.
Speaking at the opening ceremony of a seminar to discuss the projects, the Director of the Promotion and Development Department for Energy and Mines of the Ministry of Energy and Mines, Mr Xaypaseuth Phomsoupha, said the objective was to produce electricity for export to Thailand and Vietnam .
The projects also implement the Lao government's Memorandum of Understanding to supply 7,000 MW to Thailand and 3,000 MW to Vietnam by 2020.
The Xekong 4 hydropower plant, with an installed capacity of 60 0 MW, will produce 2,118 kwh of power per year, while the 150 MW Namkong 1 will generate 563 kwh a year.
The General Manger of Region Oil, the parent company of Region Hydro Power Stations Lao Co Ltd, Mr Olek Karbadin, said the feasibility studies could not be conducted without the cooperation of the authorities at all levels in Vientiane and in the provinces.
He added that the Russian government was closely monitoring the progress of these projects.
According to the feasibility study, about 170 square km will be flooded when the Xekong 4 dam is built. Most of this area contains unused forest and agricultural land that has been destroyed by slash and burn cultivation, logging exploration and animal hunting.
Around 4,500 people from 18 villages in Kaleum district are expected to be relocated from the Xekong 4 project site.
The Namkong 1 project in Attapeu province will cover 21.8 square km of land of similar condition to that being used by the Xekong 4 project.
While no families will be relocated from the construction area, four communities with a population of 1,612 from 385 families will be impacted, as they live to the rear of the dam site. The deputy governors of Xekong and Attapeu provinces agree that, overall, the hydropower projects will improve the living conditions of local communities over time, and will contribute to the country's poverty alleviation strategy.

By XAYXANA LEUKAI (Latest Update Janurary 23, 2008)

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