Lao electricity exports increase 145% within 2016-2020

VIENTIANE, Feb. 5 (Xinhua) -- From 2016 to 2020, Laos expanded electricity capacity to 6,457 MW for export markets, which represents an increase of 145 percent over the previous five-year period.

Lao Ministry of Energy and Mines earned more than 130 billion Lao kip (over 14 million U.S. dollars), up 35 percent compared to 2011-2015.

Lao Minister of Energy and Mines Khammany Inthirath reported the results on Tuesday at a five-year review meeting on energy and mine development plans for 2016-2020.

Local daily Vientiane Times on Wednesday quoted Khammany as saying that Laos has expanded electricity transmission lines, which now extend over 65,563 km with 71 stations.

On the back of these results, the ministry is looking to implement its energy development strategy to meet increasing domestic supply and export demand.

The governments of Laos and Thailand have signed a power trade agreement for 9,000 MW by 2030.

Laos currently supplies over 5,620 MW of electricity to Thailand. In 2022, the ministry will increase exports to Thailand via two hydro plants -- 520 MW from the Nam Theun hydropower 1 plant and 480MW from the Nam Ngum hydropower 3 plant, according to the report.

Laos also sells over 570 MW to Vietnam, and the Lao government expects to increase the power supply to 1,000 MW in 2020, to 3,000 MW in 2025, and to 5,000 MW by 2030.

The Lao government now sells 10 MW of electricity to Myanmar a year and will sell 20 MW more by 2022. Meanwhile, the governments of Laos and Myanmar have signed a cooperation contract on purchasing 100 MW of power in 2023, and 300 MW in 2025.

In 2019, Laos and Cambodia signed an agreement in energy cooperation development of 6,000 MW by 2030.

Laos has exported 100 MW of electricity to Malaysia via Thailand, and the Lao government expects to sell 300 MW more in 2020, the report said.

Laos' electricity generation for domestic supply and export has increased as the installed capacity and number of hydropower plants rise. The country currently has 63 operational hydropower plants with an installed capacity of 7,213 MW. These plants can produce 37,035 kWh of electricity a year, an official said.

An additional 37 hydropower plants are under construction. The majority of these are expected to be completed during 2020-2021.

So far, 90 percent of villages in Laos have access to electricity, and 95 percent of households can tap into the grid, according to the report.

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