Nam Ngum 5 hydropower project begins

Vientiane Times
Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Article from Vientiane Times

The construction of the Nam Ngum 5 hydropower project in northern Laos officially began last Monday.

The project is a joint venture between Sinohydro Corporation of China and Electricite du Laos (EDL) with a concession agreement of 25 years. After the end of the concession period, ownership of the plant will be transferred to the Lao government.

The Nam Ngum 5 Power Company Ltd (NN5PC) organised a ceremony to mark the start of construction at the Don Chan Palace in Vientiane on April 28.

The ceremony was attended by Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Dr Thongloun Sisoulith, President of Sinohydro Corporation Zeng Xing Liang, Deputy Minister of Energy and Mines Somboun Rasasombath, and Acting Director General of Electricite du Laos (EDL) Khammany Inthirath.

Mr Zeng said after a memorandum of understanding was signed between the Lao government and Sinohydro Corporation in 2004 the project received strong support from the Lao government. The start of the dam's construction is a milestone and indicates the successful integration of the procedures involved.

The Nam Ngum 5 hydropower station will be built in a mountainous area of both Luang Prabang and Xieng Khuang provinces, about 300 km from Vientiane.

The power plant will have an installed capacity of 120MW and an annual power generation of 507GWh. The electricity generated will be sold to EDL for domestic consumption.

Construction of the plant is set for completion within 48 months, at a total cost of US$200 million. Commercial electricity generation is expected to begin in September 2011.

Sinohydro Corporation holds an 85 percent share in the venture, while EDL has a 15 percent share.

The Ministry of Planning and Investment granted an investment licence to the project investors on April 9, 2007.

The Lao government expects the venture to bring economic benefits to many people around the country.

Mr Somboun said the project would increase the number of people who have access to electricity. It would also play an important role in developing infrastructure such as roads, schools and hospitals in remote areas.

Mr Somboun said local people adversely impacted by the project would receive appropriate compensation.