Meanwhile, government approval for construction of the dam is awaited before work on the plant itself begins.
The 1,460MW Mekong hydropower project is located about 25km from Luang Prabang city and will generate electricity mainly for sale to Thailand and Vietnam when commercial operation begins in 2027.
Preparation work includes the construction of an 11-km access road, which is now 98 percent complete, and a 500-metre bridge over the Mekong River, which is 41 percent complete.
Three temporary ports have been built and construction of 115kV and 22kV transmission lines and a small electricity station is 64 percent complete.
Some 69 percent of compensation payments owed to people who had to give up their land or other property to the project has been made.
Other project components, such as location development, provision of dormitories for project staff, workers, electricity and water supply connections are 98-99 percent complete.
A project official outlined the progress of project preparation work last week when meeting the President of the Lao Front for National Development, Dr Xaysomphone Phomvihane, who visited the project site in Pak-Ou district.
Dr Xaysomphone advised project officials to adhere to the project timetable so that work was completed promptly. He also advised them to consider the possible effects on the environment, and the safety of workers and technicians with regard to Covid-19.
The Mekong hydropower project will be situated 2,036km from Vietnam’s Mekong Delta.
Last year, the Mekong River Commission (MRC) organised a forum for Lao authorities to hold talks with other Mekong nations before going ahead with construction of the Luang Prabang hydropower project.
The forum discussed the possible impacts of the dam and considered the draft Basin Development Strategy for 2021-2030, a 10-year strategic direction for development planning within the region.
The forum noted that the strategy was ambitious but considered it to be proactive in tackling basin-wide issues.
Among the many recommendations made were increased stakeholder engagement, strengthening cooperation among the four MRC member countries, and increasing open and transparent sharing of information.
Published : March 18, 2021
By : Vientiane Times/ANN