Lao PDR’s Nam Ngiep 1 Hydropower Project Begins Exporting Electricity to Thailand
The Nam Ngiep 1 Hydropower Project in Bolikhamxay, Lao Democratic Republic (Lao PDR), started generating electricity for export to Thailand in early September 2019, becoming the latest fully operational Independent Power Producer in the country.
Nam Ngiep 1 increases the provision of reliable and clean energy to Thailand and Lao PDR by the private sector, and provides a major boost to the development of Lao PDR’s hydropower export.
Lao PDR, classified by the United Nations as a least developed country (LDC), has a 20,000 MW hydropower potential. Electricity is vital to the country’s export earnings, critical to achieving its goal of graduating from LDC status. The Government of Lao PDR plans to export up to 7,000 MW of hydropower to Thailand.
As reported by the Lao News Agency, the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (EGAT) issued the Commercial Operation Date on 5 September 2019 under its Power Purchase Agreement with Nam Ngiep 1 Power Company Limited. Construction began in late 2014 and the last civil, electrical, and mechanical works, including final commissioning tests, were completed successfully in late August 2019.
The 290 megawatt hydropower generation project received financing support from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) under the Lao People's Democratic Republic: Nam Ngiep 1 Hydropower Project. This was approved in 14 August 2014, under a build-operate-transfer arrangement, with EGAT International, Kansai Electric Power Company Inc., and Lao Holding State Enterprise. ADB also provided guidance on environmental and social safeguards to ensure that the project would be implemented sustainably, and be compliant with international best practices.
GMS countries are promoting power trading in the region to enable complementary access to cost-efficient energy resources. The project further diversifies energy sources in the Mekong region.