Construction of the Nam Ngiep 2 hydropower plant in Xieng Khuang province is about 10 percent complete, after the project officially got under way in December.
Prof. Dr Somkot Mongnomek ( fifth left ), Mr Khammany Inthirath ( second right ) and Mr Viraphonh Viravong ( behind ) compare the construction site with the project plan.
The work is going faster than the scheduled progress by about 2 percent, according to a press release issued following an inspection on Sunday by Xieng Khuang provincial Governor Prof. Dr Somkot Mongnomek and two Energy and Mines Deputy Ministers, Mr Viraphonh Viravong and Mr Khammany Inthirath.
The Governor highly praised the progress and quality of the construction, the press release noted.
Construction of the hydropower plant began last October and the project is scheduled for completion at the end of 2015.
So far, about 95 percent of te mporary facilities have been completed, including working faces for the main dam, a diversion tunnel, a headrace tunnel, a tributary tunnel, a tributary dam and power house, the press release noted.
The dam is located in Phaxay and Khoun districts, about 30km southeast of Xieng Khuang provincial capital. It is being developed by the Nam Ngiep 2 Power Company Limited, which is a joint venture between China International Water & Electric Corporation (CWE) and Electricite du Laos (EDL).
CWE President Mr Wang Yu said at the groundbreaking ceremony that the project involves a total investment of 2.7 trillion kip (US$345 million). CWE holds a 90 percent share in the company and EDL holds a 10 percent stake.
The dam will have an installed capacity of 180MW and will generate 723 million kWh per year. EDL will buy all the electricity generated to feed into the national power grid.
EDL Managing Director Mr Sisavath Thiravong said the plant is expected to earn revenue of about 348 billion kip (US$43.38 million) per year.
The Nam Ngiep 2 project will mainly supply provinces in the north-east, as this region still does not have enough electricity to meet local demand.
Xieng Khuang provincial Deputy Governor Mr Khampiene Sinuanethong said recently that only 62 percent of all households in the province have access to electricity.
In addition to electricity, the power plant will provide benefits in the areas of flood control, irrigation, transportation and tourism, which will promote local social and economic development.
The developers signed a project concession agreement with the Lao government last August. The concession period is 25 years, starting from the date of commercial operation.
CWE entered the Lao hydropower market in 1996. They have since invested in the Nam Leuk, Nam Mang 3 and Nam Lik 1-2 dams. They have also invested in the installation of power transmission lines and substations.