Vientiane Times, 8 August 2013
The development of two small-scale hydropower projects in Saravan province looks set to go ahead while another two have been cancelled due to lapsed agreements, according to provincial authorities.
Provincial Energy and Mines Department Director General, Mr Bounmakeo Onesa, said Xeset Houay Por and Xeset Kaengxanh hydropower plants only had to complete detailed design works and compensation plans for affected people in the area before they could begin.
“If there is not any problem within compensation, project development will be able to start,” he said. Xeset Houay Por project, which will be undertaken by a local energy developer, is expected to have an installed capacity of about 13 to 14 megawatts (MW).
“However we have to wait and see the completed studies to see exactly how many MW it will be,” Mr Bounmakeo said.
The developer signed a project agreement with Saravan provincial authorities last year and recently signed a power purchase agreement with Electricite du Laos (EDL).
Mr Bounmakeo said Xeset Kaengxanh project was now under a power purchase agreement negotiation with EDL, and would also be developed by a local company. It is expected to produce a similar amount of power as Xeset Houay Por.
However, the director general said the planned Xeset and Xeset Banbaeng projects would not go ahead as their agreements had lapsed and their sites had been allocated for other purposes.
“The Xeset 0 project has not been able to be developed because the project memorandum of understanding (MOU) between a local developer and Saravan provincial authorities has lapsed,” he said.
A small-scale energy developer signed an MOU with the province last year to conduct a feasibility study on a 2MW hydropower plant last year.
Under the MOU, investors were permitted to conduct studies on the plant and its potential environmental and social impacts.
“However, we have not received any report on the project since the MOU was signed and the agreement is now over, so the project is cancelled,” Mr Bounmakeo said.
“If the developer wants to continue with the project, they have to make a proposal to the provincial authorities again. However, we are not sure if the authorities would accept it or not.”
The Xeset Banbaeng project also faced a similar problem – the developer did not report to the provincial authorities after signing an MOU and project development agreement four years ago.
“Since the agreements are over the project area is being used for another purpose,” Mr Bounmakeo said.
“It is now under construction as a weir or small dam for a water supply project.”
Currently, Saravan has two main hydropower plants – 45MW Xeset 1 and 76MW Xeset 2 – which generate electricity for local supply and export to Thailand.