Vientiane Times, April 27, 2013
Laos is looking for knowledge and lessons from Australia to build hydropower dams in sustainable ways, according to senior government official.
“The government has made a strong commitment to build hydropower plants in sustainable ways so we are interested in learning lessons from other countries, including Australia,” Deputy Minister of Energy and Mines Mr Viraphonh Viravong said on Friday.
Mr Viraphonh will lead a team of 14 government officials to Tasmania, Australia, from April 27 to May 5 where they will learn how the island state builds hydropower plants that are sustainable. The week-long study tour is funded by a World Bank and AusAID project to strengthen capacity building in the Lao energy and mines sector.
The visiting officials will play a significant role in the development of policy on hydropower in Laos.
Tasmania has a number of hydropower plants. The island state is home to a number of educational institutions and experts who are familiar with the construction of environmentally friendly hydropower plants.
Laos has huge potential for hydropower development thanks to its abundance of rivers and mountainous terrain. But Laos needs to learn from other countries how to harness the power of its rivers in ways that are sustainable.
So far Laos has built more than 10 dams with a total combined generating power of 3,200 MW or about 10 percent of the total estimated potential.
Most of the electricity generated is exported to neighbouring countries, and Laos is playing an increasingly larger role in supplying power to the region amid rising demand for energy.