Bank trains Laos hydropower operator in environmental, social management

The World Bank’s International Finance Corp. (IFC) is helping train Laos’ largest hydropower operator, EDL-Generation Public Co., to improve its management of environmental and social risks.

IFC and EDL-GEN conducted five days of training in October for 25 professionals from the company and from its major shareholder, Electricite du Laos (EDL). Participants were trained in the business case for sustainability and in IFC’s Performance Standards, a benchmark of environmental and social standards guiding companies on how to mitigate risks and do business sustainably.

EDL-GEN was established in 2010 as the first public company in Laos. It has seven hydropower projects under way in Laos, representing 387 MW. It sells the majority of its power to EDL, its state-owned parent company.

EDL-GEN has invested in four independent power producers in Laos, including a 60 percent stake in the 500-MW Theun Hinboun hydropower complex (including the expanded 440-MW Theun Hinboun project and the adjoining 60-MW Nam Gnouang project, a 25 percent stake in the 615-MW Nam Ngum 2 project, and the 100-MW Nam Lik 1 and 2 project.

EDL-GEN plans to expand its business by taking over EDL hydroelectric projects including 88-MW Huay (or Houay) Lamphan Yai, 130-MW Nam Khan 2, 95-MW Nam Khan 3, and 15-MW Nam Sana.

IFC’s training also provided the participants an opportunity to apply what they learned in practical field exercises at hydropower sites around Vientiane Province. For example, they created a checklist to determine whether a project complied with IFC’s Performance Standards.

“We are planning to develop a larger environmental and social team that will support the sustainable construction of hydropower plants and provide support to communities surrounding project sites,” Director Souksanh Phongphila of EDL-GEN’s Corporate Support and Administration Department said.

IFC last year recruited consultants to serve as stakeholder engagement/communications specialist for the hydropower and forestry sectors in Laos. It also announced it plans to work with the Laotian government in developing draft laws that would help govern hydroelectric development.

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