Electricite de France (edf) and Harza Engineering Company have entered into a joint venture partnership agreement as head contractor for the 1074MW Nam Theun 2 (NT2) Hydroelectric project in Laos.

The companies will have full responsibility for overseeing the design and construction of the US$1.1B build, own, operate and transfer hydroelectric project, which consists of a roller compacted concrete (RCC) dam, intake structure and power tunnels, and a six-unit power house. Construction and commissioning of the NT2 project is anticipated to last 54 months, with construction starting in 18 to 24 months.

NT2 project is a part of the long term collaborative effort between LAO PDR and Thailand that provides for Laos to export 3000MW of energy from new capacity by 2008. It will supply over 920MW of intermediate peaking power to the Thai national grid from 2007, as well as supplying most of the developing needs of the two central Lao Provinces of Khammouane and Savannakhet.

After 25 years, the project will become the full property of the Lao government, which will hold an initial share of 25%. An important outcome of the project will also be the provision of US$30M over 30 years for the protection of the Nakai Nam Theun Conservation Area, nearly 4000km2 of tropical rainforest.

NT2 will more than double the size of the existing Lao export capacity. It represents a Thai commitment until 2032 of about US$230M annually, and a Lao commitment to Thailand to supply about 134B units of electrical energy.

‘As the world’s power needs increase, NT2 is a great example of a project that balances the social, environmental, safety and power requirements of an expanding economic area,’ said Jean-Michel Devernay, director of EDF’s hydro engineering international department.

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