Hydropower in Laos to Join Vietnam’s Grid

By Van Nam | The Saigon Times Daily

HCMC – Song Da Group expects to put the 260MW Xekaman 3 hydropower plant in Laos into operation in September, providing around 980 million kWh to Danang City’s power grid each year.

Speaking at a seminar on national power development plan in the 2011-2020 period in HCMC yesterday, Nguyen Anh Tuan, deputy head of the Vietnam Energy Institution, said operation of the plant would help ease power shortage in Central Vietnam.

Construction of the project began in 2007 with the total investment of nearly US$280 million.

Song Da Group is now building Xekaman 1 hydropower project in Laos, which has a total capacity of 322 MW. The project will be connected to Pleiku City’s power grid in Gia Lai Province.

Vietnam has plans to build eight more hydropower plants in Laos in the future.

Tuan said the Government prioritizes importing electricity from Laos, and then Cambodia and China. However, over the past two years, power projects Vietnamese companies invest in Laos and Cambodia have fallen behind schedule due to financial hardship and problems in site clearance and evacuation.

therefore, the nation has to import electricity from China with an output of around 1,000 MW, or five billion kWh, each year, making up 3-4% of Vietnam’s total output.

Concerning the national power development plan, Tuan said the Government has given nod to Electricity of Vietnam to revise down the national power demand by 2015 with an annual average growth rate of 13%. The plan earlier forecasted a growth rate of 14% per year. Accordingly, the nation’s total commercial power output will be 151.5 billion kWh in 2015, falling by 18 billion kWh compared to the plan. Of which, power demand of the South will be 79 billion kWh, a hefty decline of 9.7 billion kWh.

“Revising down power demand forecast means extending implementation progress of power plants by a year compared to earlier schedule. This will help avoids mistakes in construction and reduce investment pressure for power projects,” Tuan said.

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