VIENTIANE (Vientiane Times/ANN) -The Ministry of Energy and Mines has ordered the temporary suspension of research and development in wind and solar power projects, pumped storage power and hydrogen projects, until the Energy Policy and Planning Department completes a master plan on energy development.
This will give the ministry time to formulate specific policies and regulations concerning proposed energy projects. The ministry issued a notice to this effect on September 15, informing provincial departments and other entities in the energy and mines sector of the decision. Laos has huge potential for the generation of electricity from hydropower, wind and solar sources, given its geographical characteristics. According to the Ministry of Planning and Investment, Laos currently has 81 hydropower plants, 8 solar power plants, 4 biomass plants, and one coal-fired power plant with total installed power of 11,661MW and annual electricity generation of about 58,813 kWh (kilowatt hours). A wind power plant under construction in Xekong and Attapeu provinces is the largest of its kind in Southeast Asia. The wind farm, comprising 133 turbines and spread over 1,000 hectares of land, is expected to be completed in 2025 and will have a capacity of 600MW.
As a clean energy generating project, it has no negative environmental impacts and will support the global mission to achieve zero carbon emissions by 2050. In addition, the Lao government plans to increase the share of solar power in its energy mix to almost 25 percent by 2025, with this form or renewable energy viewed as an important part of sustainable energy development. According to the Ministry of Energy and Mines, 58 solar power plants have been established or are under construction across Laos, with a total installed capacity of 7,656MW. The ministry hopes to generate more electricity from solar power, with the aim of reducing the amount of electricity purchased from other countries. By 2030, it is planned that Laos will produce another 5,559MW of electricity. Of this amount, 77.59 percent will come from hydropower and the rest will come from solar, wind and coal-fired power plants, a ministry report stated. Laos’ capacity for solar power is expected to range from 10,000MW to 15,000MW, while wind power potential is estimated at about 100,000MW, according to the report.