Vientiane Times October 24, 2012
The international community and neighbouring countries should back Laos’ efforts to build hydropower plants because they generate the safest and cleanest form of renewable energy for the world, a Lao government leader has said.
Mr Somsavat Lengsavad delivers a statement at the World Energy Forum 2012 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, on Monday.
“In this respect, I strongly hope the international community and in particular neighbouring countries will lend their support to our vision of converting Laos into the battery of Southeast Asia,” Deputy Prime Minister Somsavat Lengsavad said this week.
He was speaking at the World Energy Forum 2012 in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates, on Monday. The forum was attended by representatives from various countries, the energy industry sector and financial institutions from around the world. The conference is one of many events taking place to mark the UN-designated International Year of Sustainable Energy for All.
Mr Somsavat said the production of sustainable energy was not only the policy of the Lao government but was also an initiative of the United Nations.
“In light of the present world energy situation, I welcome the bold initiative of Mr Ban Ki-moon, the UN Secretary-General, to launch the International Year of Sustainable Energy for All last year. I also support the recommendations voiced from the floor to call for an in depth study on alternative sources of energy, which is essential to ensure safe, clean, accessible and sustainable energy sources,” he said.
Mr Somsavat said Laos had prioritised the development of hydropower plants as the most viable source of energy for the country, thanks to its abundant water resources. He pointed out that hydropower plants are not only a source of clean and renewable energy but also have other associated benefits.
The Lao government uses water energy sourced from the Mekong tributaries, and Laos has built the 1080MW Nam Theun 2 hydropower plant, which the World Bank has recognised as a global role model for clean, safe and renewable energy development.
“Following on from its initial success in developing this world class hydropower dam, the Lao government is now embarking on a run-of-river project in the Mekong mainstream to maximise our renewable sources,” Mr Somsavat said.
In other areas, the Lao government has set a benchmark for the expansion of forest cover to 65 percent of the country’s total land area by 2015, and to 70 percent by 2020.
This will enable Laos to fulfil its policy on sustainable development through green growth and a low carbon emission oriented approach.
Benefiting from its sound policy on sustainable development and a green growth economy, Laos has been able to gradually achieve its socio-economic development goals, namely sustained and sustainable economic growth of more than 7 percent in the past decade.
All of these positive factors constitute a key impetus for Laos to achieve the Millennium Development Goals by 2015 and free itself from least developed status by 2020 as planned.