Second phase of Nam Ou dam cascade to be operational by year’s end
VIENTIANE (Vientiane Times/ANN) - The second phase of the Nam Ou Hydropower project, comprising dams no. 1, 3, 4 and 7, is expected to be operational by the end of this year.
A project steering committee, involving central and local sectors and project developers, met in Luang Prabang province on Monday to reveal the project’s progress and discuss solutions to social and environmental issues.
Construction of the Nam Ou 1 hydropower plant is currently 71 percent complete, while the Nam Ou 3 dam is 60 percent complete, and dams 4 and 7 are 72 percent complete, the Energy Business Department of the Ministry of Energy and Mines reported at the meeting.
The Nam Ou 1 hydropower plant is located in Pak Ou district and the Nam Ou 3 dam is in Ngoy district, both in Luang Prabang province. The Nam Ou 4 dam is located in Khua district and the Nam Ou 7 dam is in Phongsaly district, both in Phongsaly province.
A concession agreement for the second phase of the Nam Ou hydropower project was signed between the government and the Nam Ou Power Co., Ltd. in August, 2015. It will have an installation capacity of 732MW and be able to produce an average of 2,874GWh a year, with the construction cost amounting to about US$1,712 million.
The concession period runs for 29 years from the start of the commercial production of electricity, with sales expected to begin in 2020, Minister of Energy and Mines Dr Khammany Inthirath said.
The second phase of the Nam Ou hydropower project is a continuation of the first phase which saw the construction of the Nam Ou 2, 5 and 6 hydropower plants. These dams have been generating electricity since 2016, Dr Khammany said.
The second phase of the Nam Ou hydropower scheme is one of many hydropower projects planned by the government as part of its goal to have 60 operational hydro plants by 2020.
So far 38 power plants have been built with total installed capacity of about 6,265MW. These include the Nam Ngum hydropower 2 plant, Theun Hinboun expansion hydro plant, Nam Ngiep 2, Nam Khan 2 and Hongsa mine mouth power project, and the first phase of the Nam Ou hydropower project, Dr Khammany said.
Several hydropower projects are expected to become operational by the end of this year including the Xayaboury dam, Nam Ngum 3, Nam Ngiep 1 and the Xe-Pian and Xe-Namnoy hydroelectric power plants. These will use a high voltage transmission line over a distance of 5,200km, a medium voltage transmission line covering 26,000km, 17,560km of low voltage lines, and 53 electricity distribution stations.
At present, Laos can produce almost 5,000MW of electricity for export and about 2,000MW for domestic supply, Dr Khammany said.
Laos has the potential to build 100 hydropower plants with combined installed generation capacity of 13,000MW for domestic supply and export.