Lao People's Democratic Republic is located in southeastern Asia, northeast of Thailand, west of Vietnam. It has a total population of 6.2M (July 2005 estimation) living in an area of 236,800km2 (CIA Facts). The total electricity generated by Laos was 3560GWh/yr during 2002, consisting of 97.5% hydro and 2.5 % diesel oil.
The country has a gross theoretical potential of about 26,500MW (232,564 GWh/yr). Whereas the technically feasible potential is estimated to be about 18,000MW, two-thirds of this potential is in the country’s interior and the remaining on the Mekong river adjoining Thailand and Cambodia. Only 3.7% of the technically feasible potential has been developed so far.
Laos’ current installed capacity is 672MW and the country’s average generation of hydro power is 3828GWh/yr. The government gives top priority to developing the energy sector to eradicate poverty, enhance social and economic development and to improve living standards. Laos’s government has ties with international organisations like the World Bank and ADB for developing hydro projects.
Some major power plants planned are: Theun Hinboun Extension (105MW); Nam Mo (105MW); Nam Theun 3 (236MW); Nam Ngum 2 (615MW); Nam Ngiep 1 (240MW); Nam Ngum 3 (460MW); Xepien Xenamnoy (390MW); Xe Kaman (470MW); and Xe Kaman 3 (300MW). Most of these plants are being developed for the purpose of export electricity to Laos’s neighbouring countries. The government expects to develop some 7000MW of hydro capacity by 2020.