Xayaboury dam to begin commercial operation next month

VIENTIANE (Vientiane Times/ANN) - The Xayaboury hydropower plant on the Mekong River has scheduled a Commercial Operation Date (COD) for next month, with construction of the dam close to completion.

An official opening ceremony for the COD is expected to take place on November 28, and November 29 will be the start of the 29-year concession period.

The information was delivered by the Energy Business Department of the Ministry of Energy and Mines at a meeting of the project steering committee held in Xayaboury province on Tuesday.

The meeting was chaired by Minister of Energy and Mines Dr Khammany Inthirath. The steering committee comprises central and local government officials as well as representatives of the project developer.

The Xayaboury plant is a run-of-river hydroelectric dam. Construction began in 2012 and the plant will have an installed capacity 1,285MW. Some US$3.8 billion has been invested in the project.

The dam is one of the government’s priority projects and is intended to contribute to socio-economic development through the use of advanced technology.

The project will yield about US$3.9 billion for the Lao government over the course of the 29-year concession period from 2019-2048. This amounts to about US$135 million a year which will come from royalties, taxes, dividends and a community development fund.

The meeting reviewed the progress of the project and discussed social impacts and environmental solutions with a view to the project’s sustainability.

Dr Khammany told meeting participants to carry out their duties diligently and to closely cooperate with all sectors involved while taking responsibility for community development in the project area and ensuring improvement of local people’s living conditions.

Several under-construction hydro plants are expected to become operational by the end of this year, including the Don Sahong, Nam Ngum 3, Nam Ngiep 1 and Xe-Pian and Xe-Namnoy dams.

At present, Laos can produce about 4,500MW of electricity for export, which will be increased when the Xayaboury dam starts generating electricity.

Laos has signed electricity trading agreements with neighbouring countries and is discussing the possibility of more sales in the future, Dr Khammany added.     

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