Vientiane Times, May 22, 2014
The Ministry of Energy and Mines anticipates their sector will contribute at least 25 percent of Laos’ Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in the near future and the figure will increase annually in the coming years, according to a senior official.
Deputy Minister of Energy and Mines, Dr Sinava Souphanouvong reported on the draft plan at a seminar held by the Ministry of Planning and Investment in Vientiane recently, adding that the energy sector is also concentrating on speeding up development of a skilled labour force to supply demand in the sector.
“At present the energy sector is focusing on the installation of transmission lines to connect with the North, Central and Southernmost parts of Laos using the 115kv system,” Dr Sinava said.
From now until 2020 Laos has signed agreements to sell electricity to neighbouring countries, including 7,000 MW to Thailand and 5,000 MW to Vietnam.
“About 10 mega hydropower projects are planned for construction with an installed capacity of 5,015 MW, worth more than US$11.29 billion as well as a number of medium and smaller scale projects,” he said.
Meanwhile the government has an alternative energy target of 30 percent of all energy consumed by 2025 and biogas should reach 10 percent as an alternative to the import of fuel from foreign countries.
At present the Lao government is preparing for integration with regional and international communities; so the energy section is also speeding up to be ready for integration, especially in the trade of electrical energy with neighbouring Thailand and Vietnam in the years to come.
Development plans for the energy sector for 2015-20 and 2020-25 form a strategic timeframe for the government to ensure the sustainability of the national energy sector with the plans also aiming to ensure the effective implementation of socio-economic growth in Laos.
In addition, the Ministry of Energy and Mines also hopes to expand the transmission grids of 22 kv and off-grid systems to ensure electricity access in rural areas reaches 85 percent by 2015 and over 90 percent by 2020.
Dr Sinava also highlighted that Laos is a country rich in natural resources and therefore can be the leading electricity generator in the region.
The government is paying special attention to the construction of the various hydropower projects with domestic electricity supply being a priority.
By 2015 various hydropower projects are set to be finished and used for domestic supply such as Nam Sim, the Xe Nam Noi 1, Nam Khan 2, Houay Lam Phan Yai and Nam Sana hydropower plants.
Meanwhile electrical energy from the Xayaburi hydropower project, Xekaman 1 and the Hongsa Lignite plant are mainly planned for export to neighbouring Thailand and Vietnam.