Vientiane Times, April 29, 2013
The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) expects to complete a survey of the Xekatam hydropower project in Champassak province by June next year after starting the survey in February.
JICA held a meeting in Vientiane last Wednesday to report to the Lao government on the 18 month survey, including terms of reference, survey schedule, and feasibility study.
The discussion took place in regard to the Project Development Agreement extension between the Lao government and the Japanese developer Kansai Electric Power Co., Inc. and focused on the environmental impact assessment procedure, the JICA preparatory survey schedule and other issues, according to a report from JICA.
Kansai is private company and will receive financial assistance from the government of Japan for investment in the power sector.
The Ministry of Planning and Investment, Ministry of Energy and Mines and JICA have held several preliminary discussions to identify priority projects in the field of hydropower, and agreed to make preparations for the Xekatam project, the report noted.
Under the project, a hydroelectric power plant with an installed capacity of about 60MW will be built on the Xekatam River, a tributary of the Mekong. The project is in response to the increasing demand for electricity in Laos, and will contribute to the country’s economic growth.
The project cost will not be revealed until the survey is complete. The survey will confirm the feasibility of the project and whether it satisfies the requirements of the private investors.
Electricity consumption in the south of Laos is expected to reach 2,699 GWh in 2020 compared to just 261 GWh in 2010. The consumption growth rate is estimated at about 26 percent per year on average. To respond appropriately to these increasing demands, rapid strengthening of the power supply system is required.
JICA has begun a new survey scheme as a part of the preparatory survey scheme. Under the new scheme, JICA intends to promote identification of and preparation for public-private partnership (PPP) infrastructure projects that can be candidates for JICA’s Official Development Assistance.
It invites private companies to submit study proposals on PPP infrastructure projects and will employ companies that submit successful proposals to carry out surveys of their proposed project as a JICA survey team.
The team will compare the relative merits of concrete facing rockfill dams with cemented sand and gravel dams and decide on the optimal type.
They will also undertake a basic design including stability analysis, and consider the construction cost, schedule and method.
They will compare the Pelton waterwheel and the Francis waterwheel in terms of the amount of power generated and aspects of construction.
In making a comparison, they will emphasise economic proficiency by considering the optimal scale based on the vol ume of water used and the head of water.
They will consider reliable and economical electrical equipment and the preliminary design of electrical equipment, and develop a feasible construction plan based on optimal civil engineering and electrical design, with due consideration of local weather conditions and site accessibility.
They will also consider the connection point of the optimal grid voltage for domestic power supply. This will be based on an analysis of the latest transmission system and its future development plan, and the survey team will select the route of transmission after the site survey based on the current grid plan.