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Laos prepares to host 2014 Asean energy meeting
Publication Date : 27-09-2013
Laos will promote hydropower connectivity when it hosts the 32nd Asean Ministers on Energy Meeting (AMEM) next year, according to a senior government official.
Deputy Minister of Energy and Mines Viraphonh Viravong made the statement when giving an interview to Vientiane Times at the 31st Asean Ministers on Energy Meeting, which opened in Bali, Indonesia, on Wednesday.
Viraphonh represented Laos at the meeting in the absence of his minister Soulivong Daravong, who was unable to attend the gathering.
He said Laos was ready to host the next AMEM, having successfully hosted similar events in previous years.
“We hosted a similar meeting in 2006,” Viraphonh said. “Today Laos has more facilities so I think we are more than ready.”
“Our intention for the next meeting is to promote energy connectivity, particularly in terms of hydropower.”
About 20 delegates from Laos attended the AMEM in Bali, which took place under the theme ‘Energy Sustainability for Asean Prosperity'.
The theme demonstrates the commitment of Asean energy ministers to work together and achieve mutual progress towards the sustainable generation and use of energy in order to bring prosperity to the Asean region.
Asean ministers recognise the volatility in worldwide energy demand due to economic uncertainty in several countries and the global economic slowdown.
The ministers reaffirmed their commitment to strengthening energy cooperation to address major energy challenges and ensure a secure and reliable energy supply in Asean.
Laos is blessed with abundant natural resources, especially water, forests and minerals.
Since Laos became a member of Asean in 1997, the country has developed several large-scale hydropower projects. These take advantage of the opportunities presented by Laos' more developed neighbours having a considerable energy demand and large power grids.
“We all agree that hydropower is clean, has zero carbon emissions and is renewable; moreover hydropower is complementary to other more complex sources of energy, such as coal and nuclear power,” Viraphonh said.
“In 2012, our total installed capacity reached 3,200MW, of which about 75 percent is exported to Thailand and Vietnam.”
Nine power projects, with an installed capacity of 4,000MW, are currently under construction in Laos. Another 20 projects, adding 5,800MW, are in the final planning stages.
It is expected Laos' total installed capacity will reach 12,500MW by 2020, with about 85 percent available for power exchanges with Thailand, China, Vietnam and Cambodia.
The 12,500MW, or 60,000 GWh, that Laos will generate every year from hydropower will contribute to the reduction of 30 to 60 million tonnes of CO2 emissions in the region.