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Monday, May 12, 2008

Japanese firm to conduct hydropower study in Xekong

The Department of Electricity agreed last week to employ a Japanese consulting company, New Jec Inc, to carry out a feasibility study of the Houay Lamphan Gnai Hydropower project in Xekong province in the south of Laos .

Mr Viraphonh Viravong ( left ) shakes hands with Dr Masayoshi Yamashita after signing the agreement. --Photo Sisay

The World Bank has provided the department with US$990,000 to hire the co mpany.

The agreement between the department and company was signed last Thursday at the Lao Plaza Hotel in Vientiane . It was signed by Director General of the Electricity Department Viraphonh Viravong and Managing Director of New Jec Inc Dr Masayoshi Yamashita.

The signing ceremony was witnessed by the Deputy Minister of Energy and Mines, Mr Somboun Rasasombath, and officials from both sides.

The study will begin on May 25 and the company has agreed to complete the work in eighteen months.

The hydropower project is located in Thateng district, and has a proposed installed capacity of about 60MW. The dam will generate electricity for both domestic use and export to Cambodia .

The dam site is situated in the Houay Lamphan stream, which flows into the Xekong River .

Initial surveys for a hydropower plant at this site have been conducted several times since 1970, but the information used to make the calculations was obtained from maps of the area.

Surveyors did not collect information in the field relating to specific geological data and the precise geographic location of the dam and watercourses, a press release from the department said.

From the end of 2005 until the start of 2006, the World Bank provided assistance for a power import and export study. This examined the feasibility of exporting hydropower from the south of Laos to Strung Treng province in Cambodia and the supply of hydropower to the southern Lao provinces.

The study also included a pre-feasibility study of the Houay Lamphan Gnai Hydropower Project.

To implement the project as a public-private partnership, in 2007 the Ministry of Energy and Mines asked for assistance fro m the World Bank to undertake a full technical feasibility study.

The selection of a consulting company to undertake the study began in May last year.

By Manichanh Pansivongsay
(Latest Update May 12, 2008)

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