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China helps to develop solar and wind energy in Laos

Publication Date : 15-01-2014


Hydrochina International Engineering Co Ltd has agreed to assist with a master plan study on wind and solar energy potential in Laos, working in the interests of overall renewable energy development.

A memorandum of understanding on the development of a wind and solar development plan for Laos was signed in Vientiane on Monday, between the Lao government and the Chinese hydropower company. It was concluded by the Director General of the Institute of the Renewable Energy Promotion Department at the Ministry of Energy and Mines, Hatsady Sisourath and Vice President of Hydrochina International Engineering Co Ltd, Chen Guanfu, witnessed by concerned officials from both sides.

Laos has considerable potential in terms of wind and solar energy, particularly in the central and southern parts of the country, Hatsady noted at the ceremony. However, the development of solar energy in the country has so far focused on solar systems for rural villages which are far from the infrastructure of the existing electrical grid, he added.

With regards to wind and solar, the country has to date completed two prefeasibility studies in Nong and Xonbuly districts of Savannakhet province. However, Laos has yet to conduct studies into large scale wind or solar projects due to a lack of accompanying regulations or funding support.

The government of Laos is now seeking support to study the development of solar and wind for connection to the grid, as well as hybrid or independent systems, Hatsady explained.

According to international data sources, solar irradiance in the Lao PDR varies between the ranges of 3.6-5.5 kWh/m2, with sunshine of up to 1800-2000 hrs/year, according to the existing Renewable Energy Development Strategy in Laos.

With such solar energy potential, if photovoltaic technology was used (overall efficiency of 10 percent), it would generate 146 kWh/m2/year, or 1.5x108 kWh/km2/year.

However, there is currently a lack of data on wind energy potential, particularly at a height above 50 metres ASL.

There maybe some wind potential in the central provinces of Lao PDR, especially on the high mountain ranges along the Lao-Vietnam border (Savannakhet and Khammuane provinces) where at a height of 50 metres ASL and above, wind speeds reach 5.8 m/s.

The theoretical potential for wind energy in Lao PDR is estimated to be more than 182,000 MW, though the potential under very good and excellent wind regimes is relatively small at around 2,800 MW.


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