Laos to build coal-fired power plants in order to sell electricity to Kingdom

Construction of two coal-fired power plants will begin at the end of 2021 in Xekong province in the southeast of Laos, according to a senior Lao government official.

The plants will become operational and begin transmitting electricity to Cambodia in 2025 based on an agreement signed between the developers and the Lao government.

Lao Deputy Minister of Energy and Mines, Dr Daovong Phonekeo, announced that the first plant will be built by Phonesack Group Co Ltd in Kaleum district, with an installed capacity of 1,800 megawatts (mW).

It will be constructed at a cost¬ between $3 billion to $4 billion and will include the construction of the power lines needed to transmit electricity to Cambodia.¬ Those transmission lines will be 200 kilometres in length.

The second plant will be built in Lamam district by a Chinese company, as yet unnamed, which plans to invest more than $1 billion in the project.¬ That plant will have an installed capacity of 700mW.

The Chinese company will not build transmission lines but will partner with Electricite du Laos (EDL) in the export of power to Cambodia.

The two plants will sell electricity to Cambodia at a rate of 7.3 US cents per kWh, according to the deputy minister.

When queried, Dr Daovong said there was a sufficient local supply of coal to power the plants over the concession period of 25 years. He added that surveys will be carried out to locate coal seams in other areas as optional sources of supply.

Governor of Xekong province Leklay Sivilay told reporters last week that Xekong 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 use learning 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, Champassak province, is already transmitting electricity to Cambodia’s Stung Treng province.

Laos intends to increase the amount of electricity sold to Cambodia because the existing transmission line has the capacity to carry more energy.¬ Vientiane Times