Nam Ou hydropower project developed by Chinese firm in Laos starts full operation

Construction News Laos

Nam Ou hydropower project developed by Chinese firm in Laos starts full operation

A ceremony was held here on Tuesday to start the full power generation of all seven plants of the Nam Ou River Cascade Hydropower Project developed by Power Construction Corporation of China (PowerChina).

Lao Minister of Energy and Mines Daovong Phonekeo said at the ceremony that the Nam Ou project bears strategic significance in the country’s power industry development as a large-scale clean energy project that will make an important contribution to the economic and social development in Laos.

The Lao minister praised PowerChina engineers for overcoming the impacts of the COVID-19 epidemic and other difficulties and successfully completing the construction of the whole project in a highly responsible manner. He hoped that all parties will maintain close cooperation to ensure the safe and stable operation of all the power stations.

Li Zhigong, Chinese consul general in Luang Prabang, said in his speech that the Nam Ou project is an important manifestation of the alignment of both countries’ development strategies and the realization of complementary advantages between China and Laos.

Nam Ou River in the provinces of Phongsaly and Luang Prabang

The project adheres to the principle of developing local economy and the people’s livelihood, and helping address poverty alleviation in Laos, he said.

At the same time, the project earnestly implements the concept of green development, so as to facilitate Laos’ industrialization, modernization and independent development, said the Chinese diplomat.

Wang Bin, general manager of PowerChina, said that the Nam Ou project is divided into seven cascade hydropower plants with only the upper one built with a big reservoir, which largely helps achieve ecological, social and economic goals of the development.

The power generation ceremony was held simultaneously by video conference in PowerChina’s Beijing office, its Nam Ou operation and maintenance center in Luang Prabang, and its last-completed Nam Ou 7 hydropower plant in northern Laos.

The Nam Ou river cascade hydropower project, developed by PowerChina under the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative and also the first Chinese company-run project to win the development rights of a whole river basin in the country, is highly valued by Chinese and Lao governments and people.

The project, on the Nam Ou river which is also the largest tributary of the Mekong river in Laos, was developed in two phases, with a total installed capacity of 1.272 million kilowatts and an average annual generating capacity of about 5 billion kilowatt-hours.

The Nam Ou project, with a total investment of around 2.8 billion dollars from the Chinese company, will be transferred to the Lao government after 29 years’ operation.