Foreign investors reassured over power supply in Laos

business January 20, 2017 01:00

By VIENTIANE TIMES
ASIA NEWS NETWORK
VIENTIANE

LAO Mines and Energy Minister Khammany Inthilath concedes that foreign investors considering moving their production bases to the country have expressed concerns about the stability of electricity supply.



He said power stations had been constructed to manage electricity efficiently and ensure a stable supply of power in the country. The minister said Japanese and South Korean companies were among those that had inquired about the state of electricity supply.

Generally, electricity outside the industrial zones is unstable with some places, including Vientiane, occasionally experiencing power cuts for many hours. This is especially so when linesmen repair or replace electricity facilities.

The minister said power was unstable because transmission lines from various generating plants were still not connected to the national grid.

To stabilise the power supply in general, Khammany said the government had put considerable investment into the development of nationwide transmission lines to integrate and link the electricity generated by various power plants. By doing so the power could be balanced, notably during the dry season when demand is high.

A bigger transmission line of 500-kilovolts was being built, the minister said. Smaller transmission lines of 230kV, 115kV and 22kV would be expanded, while improvements were planned for a number of power stations, he said.

So far, there are 42 power generating plants (each with installed capacity of 1MW and more) that have been operational with a combined installed capacity of 6,390MW. But the transmission lines from these plants have still not been connected to bigger transmission lines.

“We are accelerating the installation of larger transmission lines,” Khammany said.

He added that construction of several hydropower plants in the north of Laos had just been finished; these would help to stabilise the power supply. These plants include Nam-Ou II, Nam Ou V, Nam OU VI, Nam Khan II and Nam Khan III, which have combined installed capacity of 730MW.