Thailand buys 220 MW from Laos’ 280-MW Theun-Hinboun Expansion

A Thailand utility agreed October 25 to buy another 220 MW to be generated by the 280-MW Theun-Hinboun Expansion hydroelectric project.

Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (EGAT) said it signed a memorandum of understanding with developer Theun-Hinboun Power Co. Ltd. (THPC) for supply of power from 2012. State-owned EGAT is to pay an average price of 1.82 baht (5 US cents) per unit for 30 years from 2012, it said.

The Lao government is the largest investor in the US$500 million plant with a 60 percent stake in THPC, which is developing the project. GMS Power, a subsidiary of Thailand’s M.D.X. Co. Ltd., has a 20 percent stake and Nordic Hydropower, a partnership of Swedish and Norwegian state-owned utilities Vattenfall and Statkraft, owns the rest.

A week earlier, Thailand agreed to buy more than 2,000 MW of additional electricity from hydropower projects in Laos on top of 5,000 MW it had already agreed to buy by 2015. Thailand’s National Energy Policy Board said October 18 it approved an EGAT plan to buy 2,444 MW from four hydropower projects in Laos, including Theun-Hinboun Expansion. (HNN 10/19/07)

THPC plans to expand the 210-MW Theun-Hinboun hydroelectric project in Khammouan Province, which was completed in 1998. (HNN 6/28/07) It was the first hydro project to be developed by foreign private firms and Laos’ socialist government. The expansion project includes a 220-MW addition to the Theun-Hinboun power station, plus a 60-MW power plant and new 70-meter-tall roller-compacted-concrete dam on the Nam Gnouang River, a tributary of the Nam Theun.

The new dam, 20 kilometers upstream from the existing Theun-Hinboun Dam, is to create a reservoir to regulate river flows into the Theun-Hinboun headpond, increasing power output in the dry season. The expansion also includes a 5,300-meter tunnel, 900-meter penstock, and transmission line.

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