Laos to have 90 hydropower plants by 2020

VIENTIANE, Feb. 9 (Xinhua) -- Lao government expects as many as 90 hydropower plants to be in operation by 2020, raising the combined installed generation capacity to over 12,500 MW and enabling around 95 percent of families to have permanent access to electricity.

Known as a country rich in terms of hydropower resources, Laos currently has 42 operational hydropower plants with an installed generation capacity of 6,391 MW and an annual power output of about 33,822 GWh.

Laos plans to export 200 MW of electricity to neighboring Myanmar by 2020, Director General of Department of Energy Business under Lao Ministry of Energy and Mines Xaypaseuth Phomsoupha was quoted by Lao state-run news agency KPL as saying on Thursday.

The department has the ambitious plan to raise the electrification ratio to 95 percent of families across the country. This plan is among the priorities of the government to eradicate poverty in the country, Xaypaseuth said.

As of August 2016, a total of 1,071,396 families in Laos had access to electricity, or 91.82 percent of all families nationwide.

At present, Laos sells electricity mainly to Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam. Thailand is its main export market, purchasing up to 10,000 MW, while Vietnam buys about 5,000 MW per year.

In addition, Laos will also export 100MW of power to Singapore via power grids in Thailand and Malaysia by 2020.

The abundant resources of the Mekong River and its tributaries give Laos the potential to produce more than 25,000 MW of hydropower. The number of hydropower plants is expected to increase from 42 to 50 this year as the government and private energy developers try to complete the construction of additional electricity generating power plants. Enditem

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