Nam Ngum 500 kV Transmission - Lao PDR
Hydropower is considered to be the most abundant natural resource in Lao PDR with an estimated technically exploitable potential of 18,000 megawatts (MW). At the time of TA approval, only about 2 percent of this potential had been harnessed, with a further 410 MW under construction. At this stage, the Government of Thailand had agreed to purchase 3,000 MW of power from Lao PDR by 2006 while the Government of Viet Nam agreed to purchase 1,500-2,000 MW by 2010. While the individual power generation projects to meet these agreements were to be developed by the private sector, the transmission network required to evacuate this power needed to conform to a long-term least-cost transmission plan for the entire Greater Mekong Region and was therefore less amenable to be developed by individual power developers in a coordinated manner. Furthermore, it was considered desirable for the power generation developers not to have substantial stakes in transmission so as to ensure open access. A matter of immediate concern was the power evacuation plans for Nam Ngum 2 and Nam Ngum 3 hydropower projects for which a common 500 kilovolt (kV) link from the Nam Ngum basin to Thailand was considered to be the most cost-effective option. ADB therefore undertook to carry out a feasibility study for the proposed transmission link.
Progress (as of March 2021)Project closed