Laos’ energy industry powers ahead
Laos has generated 26.2 percent of its planned electricity output for 2017 during the first quarter of this year.
The government set this year’s target at 30 trillion kWh and in the first three months of 2017 Laos generated over 7.8 trillion kWh of that planned output, Minister of Planning and Investment DrSouphanhKeomixay said when addressing the National Assembly last week.
The energy industry is the main factor driving Laos’ economic growth, he added.
Last year the energy sector grew by 3.9 percent, which was in excess of the government’s planned 2.1 percent growth, DrSouphanh said.
The increase in growth corresponds with the construction of numerous hydropower plants which are now generating electricity.
Laos currently has 42 operational hydropower plants with an installed capacity of 6,391MW, which generate about 33,822.4 GWh annually.
The number of hydropower plants is expected to increase from 42 to 50 as the government and private companies work to complete construction of 12 new power plants which will become operational this year.
The 50 dams will be able to generate about 30 billion kWh, of which 21.1 billion kWh will be exported, while the rest will be supplied to the local grid.
Laos is aiming for a total installed capacity of about 12,000MW by 2025 but the estimated resources of the Mekong River and its tributaries give Laos the potential to produce more than 25,000MW of electricity.
Last year, Laos earned about US$2 billion from the sale of electricity to Thailand and more than US$15.9 million from sales to Cambodia, according to the Ministry of Industry and Commerce.
Laos also sold electricity to Vietnam worth about US$19.8 million, a figure that is set to increase this year.
The government believes that stepping up electricity generation will enable it to supply more power to other Asean countries. It currently has plans to sell electricity to Myanmar and Singapore.