Vientiane Times, June 14, 2013
Construction is underway at the Nam Sim hydropower plant near Kangmeuang village in Viengxay district, Huaphan province, with works expected to be complete in two years time.
The Nam Sim Power Company on Sunday held a ceremony to mark the start of construction at the site, attended by Minister of Energy and Mines, Mr Soulivong Daravong, the provincial governor, Dr Khamhoung Heuangvongsy, and other government officials, international representatives and local authorities. The project will cost about 140 billion kip (US$18 million), with a 25 years concession period, according to the company.
Nam Sim Power Company is a joint venture between the French MECAMIDI-Norpower, which holds a 75 percent share, and the Lao Electrical Construction and Installation State Enterprise, holding a 25 percent share on behalf of the Lao government.
Funding for the project was aided by a US$6 million grant from the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation, and a loan from the Norfund and Finnfund development finance companies.
The engineering, procurement and construction phase of the project was handled by MECAMIDI, which handed over to the Lung Lo Construction Corporation of Vietnam for construction of the plant.
Nam Sim Power Company Managing Director, Mr Ove Bugge, said the installed capacity of the plant would generate up to 9 megawatts (MW) of electricity, which will be transferred about 5km via a 22kV transmiss ion line to the Electricite du Laos grid.
Huaphin’s power grid is currently under development. At present, electricity for use in the province is imported from Vietnam, but is inadequate for industrial and agricultural purposes.
The Nam Sim project will help to reduce power imports and to promote investment in the energy sector of the province. The project aims to relieve the present shortage of power in the existing transmission and distribution grid and make Huaphan less dependent on imports from Vietnam.
Nam Sim Power Company began researching the project in 2003, carrying out an initial feasibility study and engineering survey as well as analysing potential environmental impacts before submitting the findings to the government for approval in 2006.
The government is promoting the rapid development of small- and medium-sized power plants for local supply to reduce the need for imported electricity. Laos will witness the opening of at least two new power plants each year between now and 2020.
In 2006, the country had only 10 power plants with a total capacity of 700MW, while as of January last year it had 14 plants with a total capacity of 2,548MW.