Energy and mines growth boosting Lao government’s revenue
The government has assured that the country will earn increased revenues from the energy and mines sector this year on the back of the sector’s continued growth. Laos currently has 53 hydropower plants with installed capacity of 7,082 MW that are able to generate 37,028 million kWh of electricity a year.
“Another 47 plants are under construction or about to start construction and all are expected to be functioning in 2020-2021. Then the country will comprise 100 hydropower plants with an installed capacity of 13,062 MW and be able to generate 66,944 million kWh a year,” Minister of Energy and Mines, Dr. Khammany Inthirath reported at the annual energy and mines sector meeting in Vientiane yesterday.
“However, around 85 percent of the total will be exported,” he said. As development and the economy expands, Laos still needs more electricity for domestic supply especially in special and specific economic zones, the Laos-China railway project, mining and processing, energy construction projects and SMEs promotion as well as infrastructure development, rural development and communication projects.
In the next five years, the government expects the demand for electricity in the industrial sector to cover about 50-60 percent of the total demand, Dr. Khammany said.
The government has also signed cooperation agreements for feasibility studies in electricity trading with neighbouring countries Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia, Myanmar and China.
Laos’ feasibility study agreement for electricity trading with Vietnam is for about 5,000MW and at present the country exports around 250 MW annually which is expected to increase to 1,000 MW in 2020, 3,000 MW in 2025 and 5,000 by 2030, he noted. The country has agreed to sell 9,000 MW of electricity to Thailand, and is currently able to export 4,260 MW and will supply 7,000 MW in 2020 and 9,000 MW by 2025, Dr. Khammany said.
The country also agreed to sell 100 MW of electricity to Malaysia via Thailand and is now able to supply 100 percent under a model project for other Asean countries which includes plans for sales to Singapore by 2020. The government also agreed to assign electricity via 22 kV and 115kV systems to Cambodia and Myanmar as well as continuing to develop transmission lines and stations in order to ensure domestic supply and exports, Dr. Khammany explained.
Ore production from mining investment projects approved by the central government reached 10.4 trillion kip last year, an increase of 6 percent compared to 2016.