Vientiane Times, 22 Sept 2014
Thailand plans to purchase more electricity from Laos and Myanmar amid rising consumption and demand for energy in the neigbouring country.
A senior official from the Thai Ministry of Energy, Mr Chavalit Pichalai told Thai media last week that Thai Energy Minister, Mr Narongchai Akrasanee would hold discussions with his counterparts in Laos and Myanmar on plans to purchase more electric power from the two neigbouring nations.
The discussions among top energy officials on power purchasing will take place in Vientiane this week during the 32nd Asean Energy Ministers Meeting. Laos will host the regional energy meeting today, aiming to discuss future energy integration.
Mr Chavalit, who is also Director General of Energy Policy and Planning Office, was unable to provide further details on the amount of extra electricity Thailand is seeking to purchase from Laos.
However Thailand plans to increase electricity purchases from Myanmar to 10,000 MW from the current 1,500 MW, according to a report from Thai News Agency last week.
According to officials from the Lao Ministry of Energy and Mines, the Lao and Thai governments have signed a Memorandum of Understanding on the power purchasing.
In accordance with the MOU s, Laos will have to supply electric power of 5,000 MW by 2015 and 7000 MW by 2020.
At present, Laos has an installed electricity generation capacity of 3,200 MW and about 80 percent of the power is exported to Thailand.
The Lao energy officials said that Thailand had expressed interest to purchase more electricity from Laos due to rising demand for energy consumption. However the officials said that the proposal is still unofficial.
Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand’s (EGAT’s) Governor, Mr Sunchai Khamnoonset said the Thai side would raise the issue of a change of process in buying electricity from Laos during discussions at the regional meeting.
Energy officials said that Thailand wants to buy more power from Laos because the country produces electricity from hydropower, which is considered as a cheap and clean source of energy.
Peak demand for electricity in Thailand is about 28,000 MW. Most of the electricity which Thailand generates domestically comes from natural gas and oil based power plants, which are more expensive.
A number of Thai electricity generating firms plan to invest more in the Lao hydroelectric power sector after learning that the country has huge potential to generate energy for export.
The Lao government also has a policy to become a major supplier of electric power thanks to its potential to build hydropower plants. Laos has the potential to build more than a hundred hydropower plants with a combined generation capacity of about 28,000 MW.