Energy in Laos

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Energy in Laos describes energy and electricity production, consumption and import in Laos.


Laos government had ongoing plans in 2012 for 80 new hydro power plants for electricity export. Hydropower may have large environmental and social consequences beyond national borders. Nongovernmental International Rivers -organization is concerned. [1]

Xayaburi Dam[edit]

The $3.8bn (£2.4bn) hydro-electric dam project at Xayaburi Dam has caused tension among Mekong region countries - Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand. In April 2012 a contract was signed for a Thai company, CH Karnchang, to build the dam. The Lao government has pledged to resolve the environmental issues. [2] The government says two big issues - fish migration and sediment flow - will be addressed. Critics say the hydro-electric dam project at Xayaburi would harm the river's eco-system. [3]

Finnish Pöyry supported the Laos regime in the hydro power construction e.g. by argument that no international agreement is needed. Pöyry Engineering supported in 2012 in Laos Mekong river Xayabar hydropower plant that was opposed at least by Cambodia, Vietnam and environmental and other non-governmental organizations. Pöyry admitted it had not assessed all environmental risks (fish, ecosystem). According to Pöyry they have no responsibility of their reports: Olemme pelkkä konsultti. “We only consult” it said in June 2012.[1]

The aim was to produce electricity mainly to Thailand by a Thai company and to provide export income to the government of Laos. However, the Mekong River Commission recommended to suspend the project. According to Finnish media Finnish government is among the main financers of the river commission. At present (2012) Mekong river down stream is free of dams. In the area live ca 60 million persons in Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia. Foreign Minister Hillary Clinton visiting the ASEAN countries in July 2012 demanded environmental investigations of the project. During her visit the Laos government made the first official announcement to suspend the project.[4]

Power companies[edit]

Power companies include: 1) Electricite du Laos (1959), 2) Glow Energy (1993) a subsidiary of GDF Suez, 3) Lao Holding State Enterprise and 4) Nam Theun 2 Power Company owned by French EDF (40%), Thai company (35%) and Laos (25%).

See also[edit]