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Dam the Mekong, Thailand Buys More Hydroelectricity from Laos



Laos' drive to develop hydropower began in the 1970s, when it built Nam Ngum Dam, pictured here, on a major tributary of the Mekong River.

Laos’ drive to develop hydropower began in the 1970s, when it built Nam Ngum Dam, pictured here, on a major tributary of the Mekong River.



VIENTIANE – A power purchasing agreement was signed on Tuesday, during Thai Prime Minister General Prayuth chan-Ocha’s visit to the Prime Minister of Laos Thongloun Sisoulith, while attending the 28th and 29th Asean Summits and related meetings from September 6-8 in Vientiane.

Thailand has increased its purchase of electricity from 7,000 to 9,000 megawatts from Laos this year to ensure sufficient supply and meet rising demand.

The Lao Prime Minister highly appreciated and valued the attendance of the Thai Prime Minister and his delegation at the Asean Summits and thanked the Thai government for providing regular assistance to Laos, especially basic infrastructure development and Asean chairmanship and the 49th Asean Foreign Ministers Meeting and related meetings last July.

The two parties will continue to support relevant sectors of the two countries in escalating Thai trade and investment in Laos, in terms of quality and quantity,| and in accordance with the potential and capacity of the countries.

In addition, the parties will together resolve obstacles on border trade and cross border transport between the countries, solve the drugs trade and contraband goods, and maintain security along border areas.

On this occasion, Lao Minister of Energy and Mines Dr Khammany Inthirath on behalf of the Lao government and Thai Minister of Energy General Anantaporn Kanjanarat signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on power cooperation, witnessed by the Prime Ministers of the two countries.

Thailand currently buys 7,000 megawatts of electricity from |Laos annually according to a MoU signed in 2007 between the |two countries, which expired last year. Of the total 9,000MW of power, most would be generated from hydropower, which is more cost-effective than fossil fuels, the Bangkok Post reported in July .

A source said that under the previous MoU, Thailand agreed to buy 5,421MW of power, 3,578MW of which came from five hydropower plants and one coal-fired power plant.

The remaining 1,843MW of power was to come from hydropower dams, which are scheduled to be completed and start commercial operations in 2019.

They are the 354MW Xe Pien Xe Namnoy hydropower project, Xayabury Dam (1,220MW) and the Nam Ngiep project (269MW).

There a re two more hydropower plants in Laos that are set to supply another 1,418MW of power to Thailand. The power purchasing agreements for these plants are still being negotiated.

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