Laos: Electricity earnings soar by 12% as govt eyes new plants

Laos earned $2,012 million from the export of electricity in the first nine months of this year, an increase of 12% compared to the same period last year.

The figures were reported by Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Planning and Investment, Dr. Sonexay Siphandone, when addressing the National Assembly session. The amount of electricity sold to other countries was 26,972 million kWh, equal to 80.75% of the target of 33,400 kWh approved by the National Assembly and an increase of 14.4% compared to the same period last year, Dr. Sonexay said.

A total of 7,253 million kWh worth 7,547 billion kip was supplied to the domestic market, equaling 80% of the planned 9,021 million kWh.

In the first nine months of 2021, 30,723 million kWh of electricity was generated, equal to 73.29% of the planned 41,916 million kWh, Dr. Sonexay revealed.

In the next three months, Laos will be able to generate 11,305 million kWh worth 5,939 billion kip and it is expected that the amount of electricity generated will reach the planned target, he said.

Electricity is one of Laos’ main income earners, especially through sales to Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia and Myanmar.

The Ministry of Energy and Mines expects that power plants will generate 79% more electricity for domestic supply and export in 2021-2025 compared to the energy generated from 2016-2020.

The ministry estimates that 276,096 million kWh worth 140,879 billion kip will be produced in the next five years. It is believed this will enable a reduction in the amount of electricity imported to 2,880MW and allow Laos to export at least 5,000MW.

Demand for electricity in Laos is expected to grow by an average of 8.1-10.7% a year, meaning installed capacity of 2,132MW would be needed in the lowest case and 2,880MW in the highest. A total of 28,628 million kWh will be needed for supply to Laos, worth $2,431 million, of which 28,176 million kWh, worth $1,731 million, would be purchased from privately-owned plants and about 3,000 million kWh, worth $172 million, would be imported.

Laos currently has more than 80 electricity power plants with a combined installed capacity of more than 10,000MW which are able to generate over 53,000 million KWh, the ministry reported in January this year. These include hydro, coal-fired, biomass and solar power plants.

Over the next five years more power plants will be built and generating capacity significantly increased. Feasibility studies are underway for some plants while others are under construction.

Electricity supply for domestic consumption currently exceeds demand, with power provided for households, industry, agriculture, and other sectors.

Some 95% of families throughout the country have access to electricity, with 93% of all villages having electricity and all provincial capitals and other main towns being connected to the grid.