VIENTIANE, June 25 (Xinhua) -- Laos will continue to promote environmentally friendly and sustainable hydropower projects with renewable wind and solar considered as additional alternatives for electricity production, Lao Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith said.
Laos is a small country with abundant resources that need to be developed, especially in the field of energy and mines. However, all aspects of development need vigilant study to ensure fruitful benefits and a less negative impact on the environment and local residents, local daily Vientiane Times on Tuesday quoted Thongloun as saying.
Thongloun said at a meeting of with officials from the Ministry of Energy and Mines that Laos could generate about 40,000 MW from hydropower only, but the total could be around 45,000 MW, with contributions from other power projects using lignite, solar power and wind.
"We cannot go beyond this capacity. However, we still believe hydropower is clean energy, but all the projects need to be carefully studied to avoid any harmful impacts on the environment and local communities," Thongloun said.
Laos is aiming to reduce energy imports from neighboring countries and minimize its trade deficit by investing in the construction of the national power grid. This will promote access to electricity for each household, family and community.
The purchase of electricity from other countries dropped 76 percent in the first quarter of this year, compared to figures for the same period last year. In 2018, Laos purchased 261 million kWh of electricity worth 11 million U.S. dollars from Thailand, 25 million kWh worth 2 million U.S. dollars from Vietnam, and 14 million kWh worth 1.2 million U.S. dollars from China.
The domestic supply of electricity in the first quarter of this year was 1,464 million kWh, worth 122.73 million U.S. dollars, an increase of 20 percent compared to the same period last year, according to the Lao Ministry of Energy and Mines.