Construction of two coal-fired power plants will begin at the end of this year in Sekong province in the southeast of Laos, according to a senior government official.
Officials say these plants will become operational and begin transmitting electricity to Cambodia in 2025 based on an agreement signed between the developers and the Lao government.
Deputy Minister of Energy and Mines Dr Daovong Phonekeo told Vientiane Times that the first power plant will be built by Phonesack Group Co Ltd in Kaleum district, with installed capacity of 1,800MW.
“The company will invest about $3-4 billion in the power plant, including the construction of power lines to transmit electricity to Cambodia,” he said, adding that the transmission line would be 200km in length.
The second power plant will be built in Lamam district by a Chinese company which plans to invest more than $1 billion in the project, which will have installed capacity of 700MW.
Dr Daovong said that, based on the agreement, the Chinese company was to supply 600MW to Cambodia. However, the company wants to ensure a sustainable supply of energy to the buyer so has decided to increase the installed capacity to 700MW.
The Chinese company will not build transmission lines but will partner with Electricite du Laos (EDL) in the export of power to Cambodia.
“Cambodia will buy electricity from our power plants for 7.3 US cents per kWh,” the deputy minister said.
When asked about the amount of coal present in the two districts to supply the power plants, Dr Daovong said it was sufficient to supply the two plants over the concession period of 25 years.
More surveys will be carried out to locate coal seams in other areas as alternative sources of supply.
Sekong provincial governor Leklay Sivilay told reporters recently that Sekong has huge potential to produce energy for export, which will generate income for local people and drive economic growth in the province.
He said the government will take into account the need to balance power plant development and environmental protection, and ensure that power plants benefit local communities and help to improve livelihoods in the area.
The government will learn from experiences gained during the operation of the Hongsa coal-fired power plant, the largest energy-generating plant in Laos, when building the new coal-fired power plants in southern Laos. Laos is looking to increase electricity exports to neighbouring countries including Vietnam and Cambodia.
The 260MW Don Sahong hydropower project in Khong district, Champasak province, is already transmitting electricity to Cambodia’s Stung Treng province.
Laos intends to increase the amount of electricity sold to Cambodia as the existing transmission line has the capacity to carry more energy.
VIENTIANE TIMES/ASIA NEWS NETWORK