Nam Ngum I dam expansion to increase capacity by 80MW
The Nam Ngum 1 Hydropower Plant in Vientiane province will increase its generation capacity by more than 80MW after the seventh and eighth generators of an expansion project are completed later this year.
The project is now more than 80 percent complete, a Nam Ngum 1 Hydropower Plant representative, Mr Phonekeo Sengsoulichanh, told Vientiane Times during a field visit to the plant this weekend.
This particular expansion project began in 2014 with plans to finish later this year after receiving a US$200 million loan from the Chinese government, he said.
The project aims to increase generation capacity to meet peak power demand in the capital by adding an extra power generation unit.
The government also received a soft loan of more than US$70 million from the Japanese government to install a sixth generator but this part is still undergoing a feasibility study, said Mr Phonekeo.
This generator will increase the plant's capacity by about 40MW with a 36 month construction period, according to the project presentation.
In the initial plans work on this project should have begun last year with completion in 2019 but it is now delayed, Mr Phonekeo said.
The Nam Ngum I dam first came into operation in 1971 with an installed generating capacity of 155MW. If the expansion project is completed as proposed, it would increase the total capacity of the plant to 275MW.
The expansion project will also help to keep the water in the reservoir and prevent flooding when the water level has been overloaded.
The plant is located in Keo-oudom district, Vientiane province, about 90 km north of Vientiane and has created the largest body of water in the country.
The Nam Ngum catchment covers 8,460 sq km and is on track to become one of the most heavily dammed catchments in Laos.
Most of the electricity produced by the plant is supplied to Electricite du Laos for domestic consumption while some is exported to Thailand.
The Nam Ngum River is one of the country's major rivers and offers a hydropower potential of 1,600MW from various possible sites.
The Nam Ngum hydropower plants that are currently operating include the Nam Ngum I, 2,4 and 5.
These projects and plants have helped to improve the living and working conditions of the Lao people by contributing to the processing, agriculture and communication industries and educational development as well as increasing economic growth.
By Times Reporters
(Latest Update March 28, 2017)