Relocating Villagers Get New Houses as Borikhamxay Dam Expands

December 15, 2011

Vientiane Times

Borikhamxay province: Theun-Hinboun Power Company (THPC) on Tuesday signed an agreement to hand over new houses for 184 households that will relocate so the company can expand its hydro-electric project.

The houses have been built in a new village at a cost of more than US

$4.1 million. Construction began at the end of last year and was completed recently. The handover ceremony took place in Keosaenkham village, Xaychamphone district.

The handover was attended by General Manager of Theun-Hinboun Power Company Mr Robert Allen, the Governor of Borikhamxay province’s Xaychamphone district Mr Khamphiew Phimmathat, other relevant officials and local villagers.

The new village will accommodate people who must make way for the Nam Gnouang dam, which is situated on the border of Borikhamxay and Khammuan provinces, and forms part of a major expansion project by the Theun-Hinboun Power Company to increase power generation capacity.

The reservoir will be filled to capacity when the dam is nearing completion, so the villagers will need to move before the dam becomes operational in 2012,² Mr Khamphiew said.

In total, 16 villages will be relocated to accommodate the Nam Gnouang dam.

Twelve villages in the province have already moved to make way for the project. Eight villages in Khamkeut district have moved to Phonthong district and four villages in Xaychamphone district have moved to Keosaenkham village.

The project will ultimately help to alleviate poverty and promote economic and social development in the country,² Mr Khamphiew said.

After a decade of successful operations, THPC is moving to expand its generation capacity to a total of 500MW. The Theun-Hinboun Expansion Project involves a 70 metre high upstream dam and reservoir on the Nam Gnouang River and a new 60MW power station at the Nam Gnouang dam. The expansion project will generate another 230MW on top of existing THPC capacity, and require the construction of another 150 kilometres of 115kV and 230kV transmission lines.

The main dam will be built on the Gnouang River, which is a major tributary of the Nam Theun and Nam Kading river system. The dam will be sited about 27 kilometres upstream from the existing Theun-Hinboun Power Project diversion weir.

Mr Allen said at the signing ceremony the company is very pleased to hand over the new houses to local people. The company relocates villagers from areas that will be submerged, providing them with new villages complete with mains electricity and water supply.

The villages contain new houses, schools, and health centres, as well temples and community infrastructure projects.

Alternative livelihoods will be provided for the villagers, such as irrigated agriculture projects as well as jobs and training opportunities in road development. Community forestry and reservoir fishing have also been planned to ensure widespread improvement in living standards for the local population.

The existing hydropower plant is also located in both Borikhamxay and Khammuan provinces, where commercial operations began in March 1998.

The additional power that will be supplied as a result of the expansion of THPC’s facilities will provide Laos with significant new revenue sources and important additional power for industrial growth and development.

THPC’s shareholders include Electricite du Laos (EDL) with 60 percent, Statkraft SF with 20 percent and GMS Lao Company Ltd, which holds the remaining 20 percent. Ninety-five percent (995MW) of the power generated by the dam will be exported to Thailand, while 75MW per day will be distributed to EDL on a daily basis for domestic consumption.

Laos is a landlocked country but is rich in rivers and forested mountains, for which the development of hydroelectricity is, at present, the main opportunity for generating national income and alleviating poverty through sustainable development.



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