Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Thais eye Xayaburi power despite fears



Thais eye Xayaburi power despite fears

Thais eye Xayaburi power despite fears

A Thai official said yesterday that the country would move ahead with plans to buy electricity generated from the proposed Xayaburi dam in Laos if it is built, despite concerns expressed about the controversial project during a regional meeting this week.

Burachat Buasuwan, permanent secretary general of  the Thai Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, said yesterday that Thailand was awaiting a response from Laos, which is set to make a final decision on whether the US$3.8 billion dam will go ahead.

“If the Lao government said they can continue, it’s OK, we will sign the [power purchasing] agreement,” he said, adding that final approval to buy electricity from Xayaburi would come from the Thai Ministry of Energy.

Thailand is expected to buy the majority of the energy from the hydropower scheme, the first such proposal for the Mekong mainstream.

Thai government spokesman Panitan Wattanayagorn said yesterday that Thailand’s energy plan includes the Xayaburi dam, but any decisions on power purchasing would have to wait for a decision from a Mekong River Commission meeting expected later this year.

Government ministers from Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam are expected to determine whether to end discussion through the MRC on the proposed dam later this year, after Tuesday’s meeting on Xayaburi ended in disagreement.

At that meeting, the Thai delegation joined with Cambodia and Vietnam in calling for an extension of regional talks on the dam, pointing out numerous concerns raised by Thai stakeholders.

Laos, however, insisted that the regional consultation process was over.

Xayaburi has drawn international concern over its potential environmental impact as well as strong criticism from Vietnam, which has said all mainstream dams should be delayed 10 years if not cancelled.
The decision to build the dam, however, is Laos’ and the MRC has no authority to block the project.

Laos has listed the dam as “under construction” according to its Ministry of Energy and Mines’ Department of Energy Promotion and Development. It has reportedly allowed major road construction to begin.

Thai energy officials were quoted in the Bangkok Post yesterday as saying that the severe impact of the dam predicted by environmentalists and international experts alike has not been proven, adding that they would consult the dam’s environmental impact assessment.

MOST VIEWED

  • Phnom Penh placed in two-week lockdown

    The government has decided to place Phnom Penh in lockdown for two weeks, effective April 14 midnight through April 28, as Cambodia continues to grapple with the ongoing community outbreak of Covid-19, which has seen no sign of subsiding. According to a directive signed by Prime Minister

  • Cambodia on the verge of national tragedy, WHO warns

    The World Health Organisation (WHO) in Cambodia warned that the country had reached another critical point amid a sudden, huge surge in community transmission cases and deaths. “We stand on the brink of a national tragedy because of Covid-19. Despite our best efforts, we are

  • Hun Sen: Stay where you are, or else

    Prime Minister Hun Sen warned that the two-week lockdown of Phnom Penh and adjacent Kandal provincial town Takmao could be extended if people are not cooperative by staying home. “Now let me make this clear: stay in your home, village, and district and remain where

  • Vaccination open to foreigners in Cambodia

    The Ministry of Health on April 8 issued an announcement on Covid-19 vaccination for foreigners residing and working in Cambodia, directing the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training and local authorities to register them. Health minister Mam Bun Heng, who is also head of the inter-ministerial

  • Ministry names types of business permitted amid lockdown

    The Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training singled out 11 types of business that are permitted to operate during the lockdown of Phnom Penh and Takmao town, which run through April 28. Those include (1) food-processing enterprises and slaughterhouses; (2) providers of public services such as firefighting, utility and

  • Culture ministry: Take Tuol Sleng photos down, or else

    The Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts has told Irish photographer Matt Loughrey to take down the photos of Khmer Rouge victims at Tuol Sleng Genocidal Museum which he allegedly colourised and altered to show them smiling. The ministry said Loughrey's work is unacceptable, affecting