VIENTIANE (Vientiane Times/ANN) -The operator of Nam Theun 2, one of the largest hydropower plants in Laos that began commercial operations in 2010, is undertaking major maintenance of the project’s Francis turbines.
The Chief Operating Officer of Nam Theun 2 Power Company, Mr Stephane Lemasson, told Vientiane Times last week that this is the project’s biggest overhaul as the power plant has reached its mid-concession milestone following commercial operations for 12-and-a-half years. The Plant Director and Deputy Chief Operating Officer of the power company, Mr Dousith Phommachanh, said the company will undertake a major overhaul of two Francis turbine units, each having an installed capacity of 250 MW. “The first Francis unit will be overhauled this year and the other one will be overhauled next year. The maintenance of the two Francis turbine units will be completed in February next year,” he said. “Another major maintenance operation will be carried out at the downstream channel shutdown works. This is the 27-km downstream channel which regulates water from generation to Xe Bangfay river.
The maintenance will take place from November this year to March 31, 2023,” he added. Mr Dousith said there will be no impact on electricity production or supply to customers. However, the shutdown of the downstream channel will have an impact on dry season rice production on more than 1,200 hectares in Yommalath and Mahaxay districts. Once the downstream channel shuts down, water from generation will be released into Kathang river. The Nam Theun 2 company will work in cooperation with district authorities to supply water to irrigate rice fields and to mitigate the impact on the local people. Mr Dousith said the maintenance works will have no impact on electricity production and the sale of power to clients. Nevertheless, the impact on Nam Theun 2’s operations will be from a drought due to low water levels in the dam’s reservoir. Since April 2010, the 1080MW Nam Theun 2 project has generated almost 80,000 GWh of competitive and reliable electricity for its customers.
Apart from electricity generation, Nam Theun 2 has successfully delivered on its promise of making socio-economic contributions to Laos’ development. The Environment and Social (E&S) programme achieved success in July 2018, meeting the requirements set by an international panel of independent experts. The E&S programme was designed to ensure the livelihoods of 100,000 people living downstream, preserve the largest biodiversity in protected areas covering 4,000 sq km, and resettle 6,300 Nakai inhabitants directly impacted by the reservoir. The operator of Nam Theun 2 is committed to pursue a sustainable development path until the end of the concession in 2035.