|What is the Lao Government’s policy regarding hydropower ?|
A: In 1996 at its 6th Party Congress, the Government of the Lao PDR set a poverty reduction goal and in which it aimed to take the country from the group of Least Developed Countries (LDCs) by 2020.
It identified the generation of electricity through hydropower as being vital to the country’s development. Based on Lao PDR's large, almost untapped, hydro reserves, its central location and the growing needs for power of its neighbouring countries, the Lao Government feels this sector offers huge export potential for this developing nation. Click here for the National Power Sector Strategy.
Less than 2% of the country's hydropower potential has been developed over the past 30 years, but under present government policy the rate of development will accelerate to supply electricity to the rapidly growing economies of the region.
Agreements for future hydropower exports are in place with Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia. In addition to international supply commitments, domestic energy consumption is growing at 8% to 10% annually.
The power sector in Lao PDR serves two vital national priorities: (i) it promotes economic and social advancement by providing a reliable and affordable domestic power supply; and (ii) it earns foreign exchange from electricity exports.
The Lao Government’s plans for the power sector involve rapid and simultaneous development on several fronts with a view to:
Expanding the generation, transmission, distribution and off-grid development to increase the electrification ratio for the country from current level of about 60% to a target of above 90% by 2020;
Increasing government revenues from independent power plants (IPP) export investments and honoring power export commitments with Thailand and Vietnam by promoting a development carried out by private sector;
Promoting 500Kv grid development within the Greater Mekong Sub-region (GMS) to integrate the power systems of Lao PDR and its neighbors.