Lao People’s Democratic Republic (Lao PDR) is a scenic, mountainous and highly forested landlocked Southeast Asian country with a beautiful landscape. This developing country has a population of about 6 million, the majority of whom live in the countryside.

The Laos government considers the development of the country’s vast hydropower resources to have significant potential to be a highly appropriate method of achieving sustainable economic growth and to meet the domestic electrification needs. In addition, the country exports surplus electrical energy to its neighboring countries of Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia and China. Lao PDR has signed a power exchange agreement with Thailand and Vietnam to export 20,000 MW to Thailand and 2,000 MW to Vietnam before 2020.

Development of the country’s first hydropower plant began during 1970. The country now has a total installed capacity of 671 MW, of which 360 MW is currently being exported to Thailand and Vietnam. Lao PDR has a hydropower potential of 36,000 MW, of which around 18,000 MW is deemed to be technically exploitable.

Power Supply System in Laos

Electricite du Laos (EdL) is responsible for the management of the state-owned power system. Based on the variable geographical characteristics of the country, the existing transmission system supplying the whole country is operated as four distinct systems, namely the northern region, the central regions 1 and 2, and the southern region. Currently, Laos lacks a common interconnected transmission system, and the majority of villages are still without electrification.

The geographical conditions and availability of hydropower resources for the existing and planned hydropower plants (being installed to meet the rising domestic demand) are mainly located in the central 1 and southern regions. Therefore, the following power-supply strategy was developed:

  • The central 1 region will supply the power requirements for the northern and central 2 regions.
  • The central 2 region will supply the power requirements for the southern region.

To implement this strategy, the interconnecting transmission line transfer capacity between the regions required investments to fulfill the existing power-exchange agreements and to optimize the use of the system reserve margin.

Material Manufacturers for the Three Projects.