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Doubling power production in Laos

26 Nov, 2011

The expansion of the Theun Hinboun Power Plant in Lao PDR is close to completion. The dam is almost finished and the two new powerhouses are awaiting completion of their units. In addition, a new Operation and Maintenance Agreement (OMA) is established with Statkraft which will manage the production of the new power plants-- close to 3 TWh yearly.

The power plants will produce about 3 TWh annually. Ten per cent will be used for local supply in Lao PDR, increasing the country’s available power supply significantly, while the rest has been sold under a long term power purchase agreement (PPA) to Thailand.

Theun Hinboun Power Plant, which has been in operation since 1998, is owned by the Theun Hinboun Power Company. Statkraft has a 20 per cent stake and EDL (Elelectricitet de Lao) and GMS (Tai company) owns respevtively the remaining shares of 60 per cent + 20 per cent.

The expansion of the Theun Hinboun Power Plant is steadily proceeding with completion fast approaching. Most of the civil construction work on the new dam, in the tunnels and on the two new power stations is almost completed. Next year will mainly focus on installing the electro-mechanical equipment. Following a slow start from 2008, the progress rate has been increased significantly and the project is expected to be completed in about a year (autumn 2012).

In July, the bottom outlet gates in the new dam were closed to enable storing water from the current rainy season, which lasts from May to October. The large 100 km2 reservoir has risen close to one metre per day since July and will reach its maximum regulated water level before the onset of the dry season in November. This means that it will be possible to produce more power in the existing power plant in the dry season while continuing the completion of the new plants.

The project has major consequences for the local population, and a comprehensive effort aims to provide these people with a better future basis for their lives after the project’s completion. A new report from the project describes the complexity of the work that has been completed so far as it regards the environmental and social aspects. It also highlights the results achieved. However, this work will continue long after the construction period to achieve the long term goals set in cooperation with local authorities.

One of the main challenges in the implementation of the project has been aspects related to health & safety(HSE), as a result of lacking infrastructure and a low education level in this part of the world. There are continuous efforts implemented daily aimed at attitudes, risk assessments, planning and follow-up. With the several thousands of workers involved in the construction, achieving a satisfactory HSE standard is an extensive and demanding task but Statkraft’s commitment to this work has improved significantly.

You can read more about the project at THPC’s own website,