Govt investments speed up access to electricity in Laos

VIENTIANE (Vientiane Times/ANN) - The government spent billions of kip in 2017 to install and expand the power grid in villages across the country to ensure that more households can have access to electricity.

The Ministry of Energy and Mines reported that it received approval for investing 145.82 billion kip in 77 transmission line development projects last year.

In a report on the development of the energy sector in the first nine months of 2017, the ministry said it had spent 106.74 billion kip, or about 73.19 percent of the total value of the projects.

“The approval of about 145.82 billion kip is mainly for the expansion and installation of low and medium voltage transmission line projects that is the responsibility of the ministry,” the ministry’s Office Head, Dr Daovong Phonekeo, said yesterday.

“Investments in the higher voltage power grid and substation development projects are mainly the responsibility of another sector, especially Electricite du Laos (EDL),” Dr Daovong said.

The ministry’s report said Laos had a total power grid system of 57,897.17 km in 2017. compared to 54,690.87 km in 2016.

“This 57,897.17 km includes not only the low and medium voltage transmission lines, it also includes the high voltage power grid,” Dr Daovong said.

The power grid includes 500kV high voltage for about 232 km (an increase of 65 km over 2016), for about 1,618.90 km 230kV (an increase of 247.8 km) and 115kV for around 6,422.16 km (an increase of 1,164.98 km). The medium voltage includes 22kV for 30,531.81 km (up by 1,340.81 km), and low voltage of 0.4kV for 19,092.30 km (an increase of 387.71 km).

The country now has 65 substations, up from 58 in 2016.

As of September 2017, a total of 1,092,611 families or 94.23 percent of all households nationwide had access to the electricity grid. There were about 7,032 families with access to solar power.

The total electric supply locally was 3,650.07 million kWh with a value of about US$323.15 million, an increase of about 3.80 percent from the same period of last year.

The government expects the figure to rise to more than 95 percent by 2020.

Immediately prior to the establishment of the Lao PDR in 1975, only 19,000 families or 3 percent of the population had access to electricity.

The Ministry of Energy and Mines also reported that the country now has a total installed capacity of 6,984 MW and the operational plants generate at least 36,634.43 GWh annually, mainly for export.

Laos is aiming for a total installed capacity of about 12,000 MW by 2025. The abundant resources of the Mekong River and its tributaries give Laos the potential to produce more than 25,000 MW of electricity.



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