Investors of Laos’ Nam Theun 2 hydropower dam express confidence that construction will be completed on time and the dam will be able to generate electricity for export to Thailand in late 2009 as planned.
NT2 investors recently held a conference in Khammouane Province to report on the progress of the controversial project. Saying the dam is now over 91% completed, they are confident that they will be able to supply electricity to EGAT or the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand beginning in December 2009, as called for in the purchase agreement. The estimated $1.2 billion dam will have a capacity to generate up to 1,070 megawatts of electricity; 995 MW of which is for export to Thailand while the remaining 75 MW is for domestic consumption.
Laos stands to receive some $2.0 billion in revenues from concession fees and dividends from its 25% stake in the dam throughout the 25-year concession period. The Lao government has said it will use the money to eradicate poverty in the nation.
Meanwhile, 15 environmental groups are meeting in Bangkok on Nov. 12-13, to discuss their perspectives and concerns in relation to the construction of hydropower dams on the Mekong River. Environmentalists object to the construction of more dams on the Mekong, saying the dams will have devastating human rights and environmental impacts. Eleven large-scale dam projects on the Mekong have reportedly been approved, with seven in Laos, two between Laos and Thailand, and two in Cambodia.
Lao officials, on the other hand, stress that the fact that MOU's have been signed on those projects does not mean that the dams will be actually be built. They say the government will not approve any project whose feasibility studies show it will have devastating social and environmental impacts.
Listen to Songrit's report for more details in Lao.