Vietnam has expressed an interest in buying more electricity from Laos as energy consumption in the country has surged in recent years.
Vietnamese Minister of Industry and Trade, Mr. Tran Tuan Anh, met with Lao Minister of Energy and Mines Mr. Khammany Inthirath in Hanoi last week to discuss the possibility of buying more power from Laos. According to the state- run Nhan Dan newspaper, the two ministers agreed that Vietnam and Laos must improve their legal and institutional frameworks so the two countries can form a partnership in the area of energy and mines.
Mr. Anh said the two countries should develop a legal framework and infrastructure that would enable them to connect their power grids so that Vietnam can import more electricity from Laos. Electricity consumption in Vietnam has increased rapidly in past years due to strong economic growth and expansion of the manufacturing industry. Surging power consumption in Vietnam is turning this emerging economy from an electricity exporter to an importer.
Data provided by the Vietnamese government shows the country's energy imports are forecast to increase by 37.5 percent by 2025 and by 58.5 percent by 2035. This anticipated surge in consumption is means Vietnam is now exploring the possibility of importing electricity from Laos.
Laos aims to produce 10,000MW of electricity per year through hydro, wind coal and solar power by 2020. It is estimated that 75 percent of this will be sold Thailand, Vietnam, Singapore and Malaysia. Laos has enormous potential in the energy industry and expects this sector to spearhead economic development. The country is aiming to be known as the "Battery of Asia".
As part of efforts to boost the supply of electricity to Vietnam, the two ministers agreed in principle the main content of an amended agreement on energy and mining, which will replace the one signed. It is expected to pave the way for a long-term partnership between the two countries in these fields. The agreement includes a list of Lao power projects to supply electricity for Vietnam and a plan to transmit electricity from Laos to Vietnam, as well as a mechanism for the two sides to negotiate electricity prices.
In addition, the two ministers consented to provide support and facilitate the construction of the My Ly Nam Mo I hydropower project in Laos.