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Monday, April 7, 2008

Investor studies Champassak hydropower project

A Thai company has taken steps towards a hydropower project on the Mekong River in Champassak province that could be worth upwards of US$1 billion if it is built.

Deputy Minister of Planning and Investment Thongmy Phomvixay ( right ) exchanges agreements with Charoen Energy and Water Asia Co. Chairman Chatchaval Jiaravanon.

On Wednesday, the Lao government signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Charoen Energy and Water Asia Co., allowing the company to conduct a study aimed at determining whether the project would be viable.

Company Chairman Chatchaval Jiaravanon said the project was focused on establishing a hydropower station which would have an installation capacity of 800MW, meaning it would use this amount of power in the generating process.

The study will provide the investor with detailed project information so the company can decide whether the project should proceed to the development stage.

The project, called Lat Seua Hydroelectric Power, is located between Latseua village in Sanasomboun district and Khanyang village, Phonthong district, Champassak province, and according to project coordinator Bountao Phichit, could cost about 10.5 trillion kip (US$1.2 billion).

If the results of the study show the project to be economically viable, it is planned the hydropower station would have an operating period of 30 years, including the construction period.

“The energy generated from this project will be exported to Thailand ,” said Mr Chatchaval.

Laos currently has a combined installation capacity of about 670MW from 11 major and 40 medium-sized hydropower plants generating energy for domestic and export markets. They generate approximately 3.5 billion kWh per year, of which about 2.2 billion kWh is exported to Thailand .

By 2020 Laos hopes to have energy generation with an installation capacity of 30,000MW from hydropower projects currently being built or planned along the Mekong River and its tributaries.

Laos may achieve its goal of 30,000MW now that energy investors are studying hydropower projects in several sites on the Mekong River .

Lao Deputy Prime Minister of Foreign Affairs Dr Thongloun Sisoulith and Thai Minister of Foreign Affairs Noppadon Pattama recently sig ned in Vientiane a Memorandum of Understanding on cooperation in an electricity development project.

The two nations agreed to allow a private firm to conduct a feasibility study of a proposed project in Koum village, Champassak province, Laos , located on the Mekong River opposite Khong Chiam district in Ubon Ratchathani province, Thailand .

By Phonsavanh Vongsay
(Latest Update April 4, 2008)

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