Energy

New energy solutions are crucial to developing the Greater Mekong Subregion, where power demand is surging. These include improving energy efficiency and cross-border power trading. The Regional Power Trade Coordination Committee (RPTCC) manages regional power trade in the subregion.


Greater Mekong Subregion countries are in varying stages of economic development, but they share common goals concerning energy security and environmental protection. Some have made significant progress in promoting renewable energy, clean fuels, and energy efficiency. 

New energy solutions are crucial to the subregion’s advancement. Demand for energy is surging, and by some estimates demand for energy in the lower Mekong countries – Cambodia, the Lao People's Democratic Republic, and Viet Nam – is expected to nearly triple from 317 terawatt-hours in 2012 to 815 terawatt-hours in 2025.

Their rapidly improving economies have allowed GMS countries to respond to this demand with extensive power generation projects. Gas-fired plants are expected to nearly double to about 54 plants with 24,000 megawatts during the same period. Renewable sources such as solar, wind, and biomass are not yet prevalent in the subregion, but the number of projects is increasing rapidly. 

GMS countries are addressing the complexities of meeting this surging energy demand by taking a regional approach that allows for the most cost-efficient projects using a diverse range of energy sources.They are also sharing experiences and lessons learned.

Countries are enhancing the regional coordination of power trading, including the exchange of information on energy sector plans and projects. The ultimate goal is to provide an adequate supply of energy throughout the subregion at an affordable price, and to bring the economic benefits of a reliable energy supply to people in rural areas, while at the same time encouraging investment.

The GMS Economic Cooperation Program Strategic Framework 2030 (GMS-2030) will emphasize cross-border power trade, establishing regional grid codes, developing regional markets, and expanding clean energy investments with a greater role for the private sector. GMS-2030, endorsed and adopted at the 7th GMS Summit of Leaders in September 2021, aims to provide a new setting for the development of this subregion for the next decade.

Works are underway for greater integration of renewable energies in countries’ energy development. In July 2021, an ADB knowledge and support TA: Accelerating the Clean Energy Transition in Southeast Asia (SEA) was approved to support countries in SEA to accelerate transition to cleaner forms of energy.

The GMS Road Map for Expanded Cooperation in the Energy Sector is helping to guide efforts in planning and implementing projects for power generation, cross-border interconnections, and for improving country transmission systems. National projects are being developed with an eye toward the development of regional power trade arrangements that will increase efficiency and lower energy costs for consumers.

Related

GMS Road Map for Expanded Energy Cooperation

Update of the GMS Regional Master Plan

Study: Building a Sustainable Energy Future - The Greater Mekong Subregion

Regional Power Trade Coordination Committee (RPTCC)

Focal Persons at the Asian Development Bank

  • Pradeep Tharakan (lead)
    Energy Division,
    Southeast Asia Department
  • Duy-Thanh Bui
    Energy Division,
    Southeast Asia Department
  • Atsumasa Sakai
    Sustainable Infrastructure Division,
    East Asia Department

Other Concerned Staff & Consultants

  • Hyunjung Lee
    Energy Division,
    Southeast Asia Department
  • Minnie Zarah Ramas
    Energy Division,
    Southeast Asia Department
  • Jeffrey Almera
    Energy Division,
    Southeast Asia Department
  • Pinsuda Alexander
    Regional Cooperation and Operations Coordination Division,
    Southeast Asia Department
  • Rafaelita Jamon
    Regional Cooperation and Operations Coordination Division,
    Southeast Asia Department/GMS Secretariat

Send inquiries to GMS Secretariat.

Power lines from the 1070 MW Nam Theun 2 hydropower plant in Lao PDR. 95% of the power produced by the plant is exported to Thailand, and the rest are consumed locally. Photo by Ariel Javellana/ADB.

Lao PDR Ramps Up Electricity Exports to Viet Nam

The Government of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic is increasing its electricity exports generated from its hydropower projects to its neighbors in the Greater Mekong Subregion, including Viet Nam. Lao PDR and Viet Nam have signed MoUs targeting to export 8,148 MW from Lao PDR to Viet Nam by 2030. Lao PDR also signed contracts with Viet Nam Electricity (EVN) to implement 25 projects with a combined capacity of 2,180 megawatts.  

GMS in the News

Power lines in Lao PDR. Photo by Ariel Javellana/ADB.

PRC, Lao PDR Achieve Two-way Energy Trade

The People’s Republic of China and the Lao People’s Democratic Republic have successfully conducted two-way transmission of electricity on 20 June 2022, marking a milestone in their energy trade. The Nam Tha 1 Hydropower Station, Lao PDR, sent electricity to Yunnan province, PRC. 

China Southern Power Grid (CSG) and Electricite du Laos (EDL) signed a 115 kV power trade agreement in March 2022 to help consume Lao PDR’s surplus hydropower during the rainy season. During the dry season, CSG will export power supply to northern Lao PDR. 

GMS in the News

Viet Nam Harvests the Benefits of a Wind Farm and Strong Private Sector Partnership

Electricity demand in Viet Nam is expected to grow at 8% annually through to 2030. Meeting this demand will require increasing power generation capacity and developing more renewable sources of energy. Building the infrastructure to generate and transmit the extra energy capacity will require significant amounts of financing and strong collaboration.  

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Lao PDR Foreign Minister Saleumxay Kommasith and Cambodia Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Prak Sokhonn. Photo by Lao PDR Foreign Ministry

Electricity Trade Boosts Cambodia-Lao PDR Bilateral Trade

Electricity trade between Cambodia and the Lao People’s Democratic Republic raised the annual value of bilateral trade to more than $100 million in 2020 from a previous value of $10 million-$20 million. This was noted by Cambodia Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Prak Sokhonn and Lao Foreign Affairs Minister Saleumxay Kommasith in their meeting on 16 February. Mr. Kommasith was in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, from 15-17 February 2022 to attend the ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Retreat.  

GMS in the News