Latest phase of PowerChina-built Laos hydro project begins operations

Second phase of project is intended to provide 732MW and be fully completed this year

A ceremony to start the first power generation unit of Nam Ou River Cascade Hydropower Project's second phase was held on December 27 in Luang Prabang, around 220 kilometres north of the Lao capital Vientiane.

Lao Minister of Energy and Mines and President of the Laos-China Friendship Association Khammany Inthirath and Chinese Ambassador Jiang Zaidong presided over the ceremony, inaugurating power generation from the second phase first unit.

The Nam Ou project was developed by Power Construction Corporation of China (PowerChina) as an important Belt and Road Initiative project. Nam Ou is the largest tributary of the Mekong river in Laos.

In his speech, Minister Khammany was quoted by Xinhua as saying that the Nam Ou project is bringing reliable and sustainable power to Laos and is injecting new momentum into the development of the China-Laos comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership.

The first phase of the Nam Ou River Cascade Hydropower Project, comprising the Nam Ou 2, 5 and 6 plants, has a total installed capacity of 540MW, and began commercial operations in January 2017.

The total installed capacity of the second phase of the project, comprising the Nam Ou 1, 3, 4 and 7 plants, will be 732MW, and is expected to be fully completed by 2020. Once fully operational, the entire project with its seven units will be able to generate 12% of the electricity supply in Laos.