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Wednesday, February 20, 2008

EDL puts in over 1 billion kip into electrification

(KPL) The Electricite du Laos, this year will make an investment of over 1.2 billion kip in the electricity expansion network in rural areas of Vientiane province
This statement was made by Mr Oudone Phanthanavong, director of the Lao Electricity Enterprise branch in this central province.
He said that this year the enterprise would focus on the expansion of electric grids to rural areas at a total cost of 1,265 million kip.
The plan will involve the installation of the 18-km 22-kilovolt grids in the villages of Viengsamai and Nongbouathong in Kasy district, the villages of Nongpetnaseng and Nabone in Feuang district, and the village of Nonghaikham in Thourakhom district
The 9-km 0.4-kilovolt transmission lines will be also stretched from the villages of Nongbouathong, to Pholsavath of Kasy district, the village of Bone in Feuang district, the Nong Haykham in Thourakhom district. A transmitter with a capacity of 350 kilovolts will be installed in each village.
Mr. Oudone added that last year the EDL branch in Vientiane province generated 73 billion kip, accounting for 119% of its annual target, and the company paid four billion kip in taxes, exceeding the target by one billion kip.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Nam Theun 2 ahead of schedule

Overall construction of the Nam Theun 2 hydropower plant, a major joint venture between the Lao government and foreign companies, is now 80 percent complete, according to a senior energy official.

Deputy Director General of the Energy Promotion and Development Department of the Ministry of Energy and Mines, Mr Sichad Bounsakittilath, said yesterday that the US$1.2 billion hydropower project, in which the Lao government holds a 25 percent share, would be finished on schedule.

The construction of the 1,070 MW hydropower plant started in 2005, and was expected to take 55 months to complete over five main sites – the construction of the dam on Nakhai Plateau, water tunnels from the dam to the hydropower plant, the downstream watershed, the installation of the power plant and power grids from the plant.

“We have completed 80 percent of the overall construction work in just 30 months, and we believe that in the remaining time we will finalise construction in late 2009 as planned,” he told Vientiane Times after meeting with a group of consultants from the Asian Development Bank.

Mr Sichad, who is the Lao government's coordinator on the project, said construction was ahead of schedule thanks to the cooperation of all sectors concerned, particularly the government, which has strongly supported the project and assisted the construction companies in their work.

He said that 1,350 familie s, some 6,000 people, living on the project site had been relocated to a new development area, where most now had new houses and farmland; he confirmed that the rest would have permanent accommodation within the next few months.

He said the project would build more houses to accommodate them, and those relocated would be hired as labourers to build their own houses; each family has been provided with construction materials and a supervisor.

Regarding the clearing of the dam area, Mr Sichad said the government had allowed local companies to cut down trees and transport them out of the area.

This work is expected to be finished before June.

He said that if all the work was finished according to plan, the project would be able to close the dam gates in mid-June to store water for electricity generation, adding that it will take six months to flood the dam area.

Mr Sichad said that 95 percent of the electricity generated by the plant will be exported to Thailand ; the remaining 5 percent will be available for domestic consumption.

The project is expected to generate US$280 million a year, with the Lao government receiving US$80 million a year in revenue, taxes, royalties and dividends.

By Ekaphone Phouthonesy
(Latest Update February 12, 2008)

Friday, February 8, 2008

Environmentalists assess impact of Nam Theun 1 power line

Environmental and other officials met yesterday in Vientiane to discuss the environmental and social impacts of the Nam Theun 1 hydropower 500 Kv transmission line.
The line will run for 151 km from the dam in Borikhamxay province to Vientiane .
Participan ts listened to a report on the potential impacts before presenting their opinions, said the Deputy Head of the Water Resource and Environment Authority, Mr Sisavath Vithaxay, after the meeting.
The hydropower project was under construction in Pakkading district and had the capacity to generate 523MW, he said.
Mr Sisavath added that hydropower development was a government priority in boosting national revenue and many such projects were under construction. They would provide power for both domestic consumption and for export to neighbouring countries.
He said the transmission line would run through 48 villages in Pakkading, Pakxan, Thaphabath districts in Borikhamxay province and in Pakngum district in Vientiane .
The line will pass through forested areas, rice fields and vegetable plots, Mr Sisavath said.
He added that discussions during the meeting were one way to formulate plans to reduce any environmental impact and to guarantee the success of the project.
The Damuda and Egco companies, who are responsible for developing the project, completed previous environmental and social work in collaboration with local and central authorities.
At present the companies are collecting information required by the Water Resource and Environment Administration.

By Meuangkham Noradeth (Latest Update February 07, 2008

Japanese research helps power remote villages

Dr Bosaikham Vongdara ( right ) and Mr Kazuki Koizawa exchange documents at the Lao Plaza Hotel in Vientiane on Wednesday.

A Japanese research organisation will build an integrated electricity generation system in remote May district, Phongsaly province, to demonstrate the possibility of renewable energy in Laos .
Minister of Energy and Mines Dr Bosaikham Vongdara and the Executive Director of the New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organisation (NEDO), Mr Kazuki Koizawa, signed a Memorandum of Understanding on Wednesday allowing the organisation to conduct a feasibility study and construct a hybrid solar/hydropower plant as part of its research, until 2010.
Director General of the Energy Department Mr Vilaphone Chaleunsouk said yesterday that cooperation between the ministry and the Japanese organisation would be beneficial to both sides.
NEDO hopes this research project will show the government that there are other options for producing renewable energy in Laos . The integrated system will be harmless to the environment, but will still be able to produce sufficient electricity for a small community, he said.
The overall electricity generation capacity of the integrated system will be 190 megawatts with 40 megawatts coming from solar energy.
NEDO plans to complete the integrated system by 2009, to provide power to 700 households in 10 villages in May district; government offices, hospitals and schools in the district will benefit from the electricity supply, according to a press release from the ministry.
Mr Vilaphone said NEDO would spend US$3 to 4 million overall to establish and run the project from 2008 to 2010. The organisation will hand over the project to the Lao government when its research is completed in 2010.
This power system is efficient and suitable for remote areas, and the installation will be cheap and environmentally friendly, according to an official from the electricity department.
He explained that the integrated system runs in harmony, with each generator supporting the other. For example, when there is stronger sunlight during the dry season, the solar system will produce more power, while the hydropower plant will have a lower water supply at this time.
He went on to say that when it was raining, the hydropower system would run at full capacity and in case of emergency, the turbines can supply electricity.
This is the second research project that NEDO will run in Laos ; the first trial of an integrated power project was in Nga district, Oudomxay province, between 2003 and 2006. It was an 80 MW hydropower plant, with a 100 MW solar power system, and provided sufficient power to 780 households in 10 villages.
NEDO was established by the Japanese government in 1980 to develop new oil-alternative energy technologies. Eight years later, their activities were expanded to include environmental and industrial technology research and development.

By Ekaphone Phouthonesy (Latest Update February 08, 2008)

Monday, February 4, 2008

Electricity standards on the drawing board

The Lao Electricity Power Technical Standards project, or LEPTS, will benefit the developing electricity network in Laos when it is fully implemented in the near future.

The LEPTS Regulatory Unit last week held its final seminar in Borikhamxay province and released documents regarding the role of technical standards to electrical employees of the provincial department. The project has already held similar meetings in the last three months in other provinces.

The seminar was attended by the LEPTS Phase 2 coordinator, Mr Masatoshi Kaimasu, and Deputy Director of the provincial Energy and Mines Department, Mr Khamsing Sayphouvong, as well as around 20 trainees from the electricity industry.

The aim of the seminars was to help trainees understand the application of uniform technical standards for the development of the industry in each province; these trainees will then be able to help disseminate the information to district electricians and staff.

This will ensure electrical staff and private companies maintain a regulated approach to issues of repair and maintenance of equipment and improve the safety of the electricity supply, said Mr Masatoshi at the seminar.

The project consists of two stages - Phase 1 from May 2000 to April 2003, and Phase 2 from January 2005 until March 2008.

As well as the training programme, the project has also improved technical documents and regulations regarding electrical work and established a technical standards training centre and the LEPTS Regulatory Unit to help oversee the project.

The project was organised under the Department of Electricity of the Ministry of Energy and Mines and supported by the Japanese International Cooperation Agency.

Staff from Energy and Mines departments around the country now have a greater understanding of the issues and requirements, and will be more effective in developing the Lao electricity network.

When the project finishes, the Japan International Cooperation Agency plans to support further training for the increasing number of private contractors and firms in the industry.

(Latest Update February 04, 2008)