By News Desk
VIENTIANE - Myanmar hopes to import electricity from Laos at an installed capacity of about 300 megawatts (MW) in the near future while the exports to Vietnam may be increased in the next few months.
“The Myanmar government proposed this project to Laos about two months ago,” Deputy Minister of Energy and Mines Viraphonh Viravong told Vientiane Times yesterday.
“Currently we are studying the greater detail of the project, including the transmission lines and where the electricity will be used,” Viraphonh said.
Speaking at the 10th Party Congress recently, Party Secretary of the Ministry of Energy and Mines Dr Khammany Inthirath reported that Laos will begin initial electricity exports to Myanmar this year.
Viraphonh explained that the initial exports will be only a small quantity for use in a few villages in Myanmar that are close to Luang Namtha province of Laos.For the electricity exports to Vietnam, Director General of Ministry of Energy and Mines’ Energy Policy and Planning Department, Dr Daovong Phonekeo, said that Laos will begin the exports with a newly built power plant, Xekaman 1, this year in Attapeu province in the southern part of Laos.
“According to the plan, the plant, that has three energy generators, will start running the first generator next month; then the second generator will run in the following three months and the third generator another three months after that,” Dr Daovong said.
The southern region of Laos will have four more hydropower plants in 2017: Xekaman 4, Xekaman Sanxay, Xekong 3 and Xekong 3 Ha.
Importing electricity from neighbouring countries, including Laos, is one of several measures being adopted to help Vietnam meet the electricity demand for socio-economic development, according to a VNS report.
These projects are expected to help partially address the urgent requirement for electricity plants for the period ending in 2020.
Dr Khammany said that as of 2015, Laos has built 38 power plants at a total cost of more than 81.7 trillion kip (US$10 billion), with a total installed capacity of 6,265MW.
They can generate 33,315 million kWh of electricity a year; and some 20.4 percent of the power generated is consumed in Laos while 79.6 per cent is exported.Viraphonh said the exports shall be mainly to Thailand while the rest will go to Vietnam and Cambodia.
Under current arrangements the generated energy is for both local supply and export to Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia. The sector also has the potential development of an electricity grid linking Laos and Singapore and trading in electricity is possible as Thailand and Malaysia would also benefit from the project.Laos will push for the acceleration of energy integration under the Asean Power Grid (APG) to address the imbalance in the distribution of power-generating resources in the region.
APG aims to connect countries with surplus power generation capacity to those who face a deficit. The intention is to link up power lines in the 10 Asean nations by 2020.
Laos can help Asean countries to reduce their use of fossil fuels, which are the main source of greenhouse gas emissions, and importantly can also help Asean to stabilise its power supply.