Theun-Hinboun Hydro Plant Extension to Power Up This Week

The inauguration of the Theun-Hinboun hydropower expansion project will take place on Friday after over three years of construction in Borikhamxay and Khammuan provinces.

“Currently the project is 99.99 percent complete with only a few more inspections still to be done,” the Assistant Project Manager, Mr Sisouvanh Souvannaphasy, said yesterday.

Mr Sisouvanh said the two generators were installed in November and December. They had already started generating energy which is being sold to Electricite du Laos (EdL) for local supply.

The Theun-Hinboun Power Company Limited (THPC) has spent about 6.2 trillion kip (US$720 million) on the project. Sixty percent of THPC is owned by government shareholders through EdL, while Nordic Hydro (Statkraft) and GMS Lao each hold a 20 percent stake.

The expansion project, for which the ground was officially broken in May 2009, was initiated following a financial restructuring in mid-2002 necessitated by the start up of the Nam Theun 2 dam which, when it became operational, reduced the volume of water available for the Theun-Hinboun dam.

The Theun-Hinboun dam, which has an installed capacity of 220MW, is also located in Borikhamxay province, and an expansion project is underway in adjacent Khammuan province.

The expansion aims to increase the supply of energy both for local distribution and export. It will also increase generator capacity from 220MW to 500MW. Upon completion of the dam, 440MW will be sold to Thailand with the remaining 60MW sold to EdL for local supply.

According to statements made by EdL Managing Director Mr Sisavath Thiravong at the ceremony for the first water release from the Nam Gnuang dam for electricity generation in February last year, once the power plant expansion is fully operational its 500MW capacity will in one year be able to generate about 3,000GWh and an income of US$150 million.

The return for Laos and the project’s developers will be considerable. Income is expected to amount to about 14 trillion kip (US$1,755 million) over the 27-year concession period, of which the EdL portion will be about US$1,201 million.

This figure includes royalties of about US$229 million and a further US$325 million payable to the Lao government in taxes.

Established in 1995, the Theun-Hinboun Power Company was the first independent hydropower company in Laos and has operated successfully since 1998.

VIENTIANE TIMES

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