World Bank unit, Korean developer partner on Laos hydropower

The International Finance Corp. (IFC) and Korea Western Power Co. Ltd. have agreed to develop jointly hydropower projects in Laos that would contribute to that government’s goal of bringing electricity to 90 percent of households.

IFC, a unit of the World Bank, and Korea Western, a subsidiary of Korea Electric Power Corp., announced the agreement July 19. IFC said the agreement will allow its early-stage project development fund, InfraVentures, to act as co-developer with Korean Western on one or more new hydropower projects in Laos with total capacity of up to 150 MW.

Korea Western is to lead the overall project development as main sponsor while IFC InfraVentures will assist with financial structuring and environmental and social impact management. InfraVentures also is to help mobilize capital for the projects from other developmental financial institutions and commercial banks.

IFC said the venture is its first private sector investment in the Laotian hydropower sector.

In 2011, the South Korean Economic Development Cooperation Fund agreed to lend US$70 million for a US$1 billion hydroelectric plant being developed by South Korea’s SK E&C Co. and Korea Western on the Mekong River. Korea Western agreed with South Korean and Thai firms in 2010 to develop a 390-MW project at Senamnoi, Laos. Korea Western’s website now lists the Senamnoi hydroelectric project’s proposed capacity as 1,320 MW.

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