Ministry of Energy and Mines

Department of Energy Business

The Lao power sector is under process of development, which aims at realizing the country’s electrification program, and at the same time export of electricity to the neighboring countries. Around ten percent of the total houses across the country will have to be electrified by the year 2020. The power sector has the potential to play a pivotal role in achieving the social and economic development objectives of the Government by expanding the availability of low cost, reliable electricity within the country and earning revenue from export sales to the region. The Government’s Policy facilitates these objectives by encouraging optimal use of the country's natural resources, promoting efficiency in power sector institutions and creating an environment conducive to responsible infrastructure investment, both public and private.

Lao PDR (Laos) is land-locked mountainous country, which has few options to diversify its energy sources. The Lao Government has the ambition to realize the development of electric power facilities as a highly appropriate method of achieving sustainable social and economic development through electrification program as well as source of income. Laos’ national borders incorporate a significant part of the Mekong River basin. Its main tributaries contribute around 35% of total inflows of the Mekong River. As the country intercepts monsoons from two directions - the Gulf of Thailand and the Gulf of Tonkin - precipitation is considerably favorable for hydropower development. This trend presents an opportunity for Laos to develop hydropower plants to meet its domestic electrification needs and also to export electricity to neighboring countries where demand for electric power has been steadily increasing.

Hydropower is seen as a cost-effective energy source in Laos which has a theoretical hydroelectric potential of about 26,500MW including the mainstream Mekong River. Of this capacity, about 18,000MW is technically exploitable, with 12,500MW found in the major Mekong sub-basins and the remainder in minor Mekong or non-Mekong basins. Around one-fifth of the country's hydropower potential has been developed over the past 30 years, but under the present government policy the rate of development will accelerate to supply electricity to the rapidly growing economies of the region.

Coal development is at its nascent stage. Renewable energy such as wind and solar is currently experimented and is not developed on a commercial basis. Oil and gas have no prospect for development in the territory of Laos. As such, the hydropower source still constitutes the best option for tapping energy sources in Laos.



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