Laos Sees 145% Energy Export Growth between 2016-2020

Laos Energy Exports Increase 145 Percent (Photo by Matthew Henry)

Laos has increased its electricity exports by 145 percent over the past five years amid a growing number of hydropower plants.

The country expanded electricity capacity to 6,457 MW for export markets between 2016 and 2020. Accordingly, the Lao Ministry of Energy and Mines earned more than LAK 130 billion (USD 14 million), up 35 percent compared to 2011-2015, Xinhua News Agency reported.

The country currently has 63 operational hydropower plants with an installed capacity of 7,213 MW. These plants can produce 37,035 kWh of electricity a year.

Laos is currently looking to add an additional 37 hydropower plants and the majority of these are expected to be completed between 2020 and 2021.

Thailand imports over 5,620 MW of electricity from Laos, and in 2022, the ministry will increase exports an additional 1,000 MW to its neighboring nation via two hydro plants, namely the Nam Theun hydropower 1 plant and the Nam Ngum hydropower 3 plants.

The country also sells over 570 MW to Vietnam, and the Lao government expects to increase the power supply to 1,000 MW in 2020, to 3,000 MW in 2025, and to 5,000 MW by 2030.

In addition, Laos supplies 10 MW of electricity to Myanmar a year and will sell 20 MW more by 2022. The figure is expected to grow as the governments of Laos and Myanmar signed a cooperation contract on purchasing 100 MW of power in 2023, and 300 MW in 2025.

Meanwhile, Laos and Cambodia signed an agreement in 2019 in energy cooperation development of 6,000 MW by 2030.

Further afield, Laos has exported 100 MW of electricity to Malaysia via Thailand, and the Lao government expects to sell 300 MW more in 2020.