Laos’ 1,070-MW Nam Theun 2 hydroelectric project has delivered its first test energy, a total of 60 MW to Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (EGAT).
The milestone came at the end of June with initial synchronization of one of the turbines, the World Bank announced July 3, 2009. Power was delivered through the transformer bay and substation to the 500-kilowatt transmission line that exports electricity to Thailand.
The project is expected to begin commercial operation at the end of the year, exporting 995 MW to EGAT under contract and supplying 75 MW to the Laotian grid. (HydroWorld 9/14/07)
The bank also reported the project’s environmental and social programs continue to make good progress despite challenges. In 2008, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) approved US$400,000 to provide consultants for safeguard monitoring of people affected by construction of the project on Nam Theun River. (HydroWorld 8/4/08)
ADB included Nam Theun 2 in the recent favorable assessment of its aid program to the energy sector in the Greater Mekong Subregion of Southeast Asia. (HydroWorld 5/28/09)
Nam Theun 2 Power Co., a venture of EDF International, Italian-Thai Development, Electricity Generating Plc. of Thailand, and Laos government-owned Electricite du Laos, is building Nam Theun 2. The project includes a 39-meter-tall dam, a 450-square-kilometer reservoir, and a diversion of water from the Nam Theun to another Mekong River tributary, the Xe Bang Fai River.
In 2005, the World Bank officially decided to support construction of Nam Theun 2. It is the largest public-private hydro project built and one of the largest internationally financed projects in Asia since the 1997 financial crisis.
For additional information on the public-private partnership financing approach to projects including Nam Theun 2, see HRW May 2009.