Khan River to Be Dammed in Luang Prabang

December 28, 2011

Vientiane Times

Luang Prabang province: Construction is underway on the Nam Khan 2 hydropower plant project on the Khan River in Luang Prabang province, with commercial operation expected to commence in 2015.

A groundbreaking ceremony took place at the dam site on Monday, where construction is progressing well. “Construction work on the project is now 15 percent complete,” Electricity du Laos (EDL) Managing Director Mr Sisavath Thiravong said.

Mr Sisavath said the project involves a total investment of about 2.4 trillion kip (US$308 million), of which 95 percent has been borrowed from the Exim Bank of China, while the balance comes from EDL’s coffers.

Attending the ceremony were Deputy Prime Minister Somsavat Lengsavad, Chinese Ambassador to Laos Ms Bujianguo and other officials.

An EDL official said the government expects to repay the entire sum borrowed from Exim bank within 15 years. Construction will be carried out by the Chinese company Sinohydro. The company has been operating in Laos for more than 16 years, undertaking both hydropower and mining development projects.

Sinohydro representative Mr Shen Decai told participants at the ceremony “We are sure we will be able to complete the construction work according to schedule.”

When complete, the project will have an installed capacity of 130 megawatts and will be able to generate 558 million kWh of electricity per year.

Mr Sisavath said the electricity generated will be transmitted via a 115kV transmission line to the substation in Xiengngeun district to supply the northern provinces and Vientiane.

Energy and Mines Minister Mr Soulivong Daravong said “The project will particularly help people living in remote areas who are still waiting for electricity to be supplied to their villages.”

Luang Prabang province Deputy Governor Dr Bouakhong Nammavong said that currently 71 percent of families in the province have access to electricity. When the Nam Khan 2 plant is operational, benefits will flow to previously isolated villages and to electricity consumers throughout the country.

The dam wall will be 136 metres high and 365 metres long. The 30.5 square kilometre reservoir will have the capacity to store 686 million cubic metres of water.

“229 million cubic metres will be used for energy generation and the rest will go towards agricultural enterprises and other uses. We also plan to build the Nam Khan 3 hydropower plant in the province in future years,” Mr Sisavath said.

Mr Soulivong said that three hydropower projects officially commenced construction this month – the Nam Long and Nam Ngiep 2 in Luang Namtha and Xieng Khuang provinces and now the Nam Khan 2 in Luang Prabang province.



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