Luang Namtha Hydro Plant Progresses to Plan

June 1, 2012

Vientiane Times

Work that began last December to build a small scale hydropower plant
on the Long River in Long district, Luang Namtha province, is
progressing well and is on schedule.

“It is now about 68 percent complete,” Nam Long Power Co Ltd President
Mr Bounleuth Luangpaseuth said on Wednesday.

The company is now preparing to install imported equipment and
machinery to power the plant. “The turbines and generators are being
imported from Germany and other equipment is from China,” Mr Bounleuth
said, speaking during an interview at a seminar on renewable energy
development in Laos. “Some of the items have already arrived and the
rest will be here soon.”

Construction is going as planned, “but we will have to see what
problems we will face this wet season,” Mr Bounleuth said. “Our plan
is to complete construction and start commercial operation in March or
April next year.”

Fourteen kilometres of 22kV transmission lines have been installed to
connect the Electricite du Laos (EDL) power grid to the project site.
“Once the project is completed, we will sell the electricity generated
by the plant to EDL, using these transmission lines,” he said.

The project is worth about 109 billion kip (US$13.7 million), and is a
joint investment between Luangpaseuth Construction Sole Co Ltd, which
holds 80 percent, and EDL, which holds the remaining 20 percent.

The plant will have installed capacity of 5 megawatts (MW) and is
forecasted to achieve annual electricity generation of about 37
million kWh. It will help 85 percent of Luang Namtha’s population to
gain access to electricity by 2015.

The Nam Long Power Co Ltd was established in 2009 and will own the
project for 30 years, after which it can extend the agreement one
time.

A feasibility study showed large interest in the project as a local
energy source for Luang Namtha, with talk being that it may one day
replace the need for imported electricity from China.

The Nam Long project is a run-of-river scheme, meaning power
generation will depend on the immediate river water flow. The dam or
weir is only 6.5 metres in height.

Instead, run-of-river projects generate electricity by diverting only
part of the stream.

This produces relatively little change in the stream channel and flow,
and minimises the impact on fish migration, water quality, and
wildlife habitats.

The government is promoting the rapid development of small and medium
sized power plants for local supply to reduce the need for imported
electricity.

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