Laos Electricity and Energy

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Laos has more than thirteen tributaries that join the Mekong River, covering a distance of 1,500 kilometers. The rich soil of both mountainous and riverside areas accounts for 80% of the country's land mass, with rainfall never falling below 2,500 millimeters a year. This provides Laos with electricity generating capacity of not less than 18,000 megawatts.

With such plentiful natural resources, the Government of Laos set up a master plan to develop hydropower. Projects of the tributaries of the Mekong River cover 30 dams around the country that would generate hydroelectricity.

These dams are expected to enhance the country's hydroelectricity generation capacity to 8,520 megawatts. The current capacity stands at 220 megawatts only, most of which have been produced by the Nam Ngum Dam, located to the north of Vientiane, and the Se Set Dam in Saravane.

In addition, Laos also has thermal-powered electricity generation project in the district of Xieng Hon-Hongsa. The capacity here is 600 megawatts and distribution of electricity under this project is planned to start in 1998.

Energy is regarded by the Lao Government as a major concern and includes hydroelectric development and the strengthening of local capability in the matter with the objective of making Laos the centre for electricity export in Southeast Asia.