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Laos plans to build more small-sized hydropower plants

Staff Writer |
Lao southern Attapeu province will conduct a feasibility study on the construction of small-sized hydropower plants.

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The study will be carried out on the Youn River in Sanxay district which shares a border with Dakcheung district in Sekong province, state-run Vientiane Times reported.

According to the Lao Ministry of Planning and Investment, the country's energy sector will undergo considerable growth, with several hydropower plants set to come online and begin electricity generation.

The energy sector is viewed as the major factor in driving the economic growth rate to 7 percent, the ministry was quoted as saying.

Many power plants are now fully operational, including the Hongsa Mine Mouth Power Project which has an installed capacity of 1,787MW.

At least eight other major power plants will come online soon, including the Xekaman 1 with 322MW, Nam Ou 5 with 240MW, and the Nam Lik and Nam Phay hydropower plants.

The government is promoting the rapid development of power plants for local energy supply in a bid to cut electricity imports.

According to the Lao Ministry of Energy and Mines, as of 2015, Laos had built 38 power plants at a cost of more than 81.7 trillion Lao kip ($10 billion ) with total installed capacity of 6,265MW.

In total, these plants can generate 33,315 million kWh of electricity per year.

There are 45 power plants under construction and more will be developed. The Southeast Asian country is aiming for total installed capacity of about 12,000MW by 2025, said the Ministry of Energy and Mines.

The abundant resources of the Mekong River and its tributaries give Laos the potential to produce more than 25,000MW of electricity.

In 1975, only 19,000 families or three percent of Lao population had access to electricity. At present, as many as 89.6 percent of the population can access the power grid, said Vientiane Times.

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