Thai Prime Minister Somchai Vongsavath
asserted that Thailand will not officially agree to buy electricity from five
power projects that are being built in Laos until after the conclusion of the
current price negotiations. Talks about new purchase agreements are ongoing between
EGAT or the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand and the investors of
the five projects who said they needed a price hike because of higher
construction costs due to rising prices of construction materials.
lack of agreement between officials of both parties on this issue has put off at
least another year the completion of these five power projects, meaning it will
be 2015 before Laos can start exporting to Thailand the electricity generated
by these dams - namely the Nam Ngum II, Nam Ngiep, Nam Ou,
and Nam Theun I hydropower projects, and the Hongsa lignite project.
Meanwhile, in a move to show its
perception of the importance of Laos’ energy development for exports to
Thailand, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) agrees to provide Laos with a US$ 47
million loan to enable Laos to pay for its share in the investment of the 440-megawatt
Nam Ngum III hydropower project, a joint investment with Thai and Japanese
investors in which the Lao government holds a 23% stake. This ADB loan is significant to Laos’ plans to
promote foreign investments in power projects to enable it to export as much as
8,000 megawatts of electricity from as many as 29 power projects, as well as to
provide electricity to up to 90% of Laos’ total households by 2020. Currently, Laos is able to meet the energy
needs of only 59% of the more than 1
million households across the country, living mainly in urban areas.
Listen to Songrit's report for more details in Lao.