Vientiane Times, 24 June 2013
A feasibility study in relation to a hydropower project on the Nam Ngeun river in Xayaboury province’s Ngeun district will be undertaken following the signing of a memorandum of understanding last week.
The agreement comes as the Lao government implements its policies on hydropower development, encouraging more private investment to supply domestic power demand and also power exports.
A feasibility study will be carried out on the viability of a small-scale hydropower dam with an installed capacity of 70MW on the Nam Ngeun in Xayaboury, which would cost more than US$70 million to construct.
The agreement was signed by Deputy Minister of Planning and Investment, Dr Bounthavy Sisouphanthong, and representatives of Silver Sand Group Company and Saythone Electrical Company.
According to a senior official from the Ministry of Planning and Investment, the feasibility study will be carried out by contracted companies over a period of 18 months or so. The study will be focused on the economic viability of the project and its social and environmental impacts in the local area.
Work on project construction cannot begin until the feasibility study is complete, according to an official concerned. According to the Ministry of Energy and Mines, Laos has the potential to develop 100 hydropower dams with an installed capacity of 28,000MW.
The Lao government is eyeing a 90 percent growth of electric usage by 2020, with the energy sector to be an essential element in national poverty eradication.