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Pak Beng Hydropower project looks set to move forward

The construction of the Pak Beng Hydropower Project is expected to begin at the end of this year after reaching agreement among Lower Mekong countries.

A group of technical officials from the Ministry of Energy and Mines, Lao National Mekong Committee Secretariat and media organisations recently visited the construction site of the Pak Beng Hydropower Project in Oudomxay province.

The group was led by Acting Director General of the Department of Energy Policy and Planning under the Ministry of Energy and Mines, MrChansavengBoungnong.

To comply with the Mekong River Commission (MRC), the Lao government already sent documents for the project to the MRC Secretariat in November last year so they can prepare them before they are submitted to Mekong countries like Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam.

This process on prior consultation will take about six months and then Lower Mekong countries will send their concerns and issues related to the design of the project to the MRC Secretariat. The secretariat will review the documents and return them to Laos to improve and solve any design issues, MrChansaveng told technical officials and media during a visit to the project construction site.

He pointed out that Laos has vast potential in the hydropower sector but also that its outlook for development is sustainable and will avoid environmental impacts on neighbouring countries.

“We visited the site of the project to see the preparations and build understanding among officials on the project,” MrChansaveng said.

Currently there is only the construction of the road but the developer hasn't built anything on the Mekong River as they are still waiting for approval and consultation. In addition, the group also visited villages affected by the project. There are about 1,100 people who will have to move and relocate from the site, MrChansaveng said.

Pak Beng Hydropower Project is located on the upper reaches of the Mekong River near Pakbaeng district in Oudomxay province of northern Laos.

The project type is run-of-river and the dam site is approximately 14km upstream from Pakbaeng district. The total capacity is 912MW with average annual generation of 4.775 GWh.

Laos has developed hydropower projects on the Mekong by adhering to the principles of ensuring safety and sustainability, according to international standards and having negligible impacts on the environment as well as diverse sectors on the Lower Mekong.

Pak Beng Hydropower Project is located on the Mekong River so it will adhere to the principles of the 1995 Mekong Agreement, especially the process on prior consultation which will take at least six months until a decision is made on development.

Datang Overseas Investment Co., Ltd. signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Lao government in August 2007 to conduct an economic feasibility study and the government assigned CompangnieNationale du Rhone (CNR) to help check the economic feasibility study document.

By Times Reporters
(Latest Update
January 26,
2017)


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