VIENTIANE, Oct. 15 (Xinhua) -- The first of four electricity generators at the Don Sahong hydropower plant on the Mekong river in Southern Laos' Champasak province was tested last week, after construction began in January 2016.
According to local daily Vientiane Times on Tuesday, the Don Sahong Power Company will test each energy generator every 10 days and of all the generators should be fully operational by the end of 2019.
"The investors in the 500 million U.S. dollars project include a Malaysian company, Mega First Corporation Berhad, with an 80 percent share, while EDL-GEN (State-run energy giant Electricite du Laos Generation Public Company) hold the remaining 20 percent," Vientiane Times quoted an official from Lao Ministry of Energy and Mines as saying.
The test was witnessed by Lao Minister of Energy and Mines Khammany Inthirath along with other officials from Lao government and private sectors.
"The testing of engine number one is a great achievement because it has taken place ahead of the construction plan," Khammany said.
Construction of the Don Sahong dam in Champasak province, some 484 km south of Lao capital Vientiane, is being undertaken by the Don Sahong Power Company with the plant to have an installed capacity of 260 MW.
The dam is located at the southern end of the Sahong channel, one of seven major channels of the Mekong River in the Siphandone (Four Thousand Islands) area in southern Laos that flow over a geological feature called the "great fault line".
"The dam is located in Khong district and is a run-of-river scheme which utilizes 5 percent of the water that passes through the dam to generate electricity. It is an environmentally friendly and sustainable project," Khammany said.
Laos' hydropower industry is developing fast. In 2005, there were only nine hydro plants across the country with an installed capacity of 680 MW, generating 3,237 kWh a year.
Nowadays, 63 dams are operational with 7,207 MW of installed capacity which can generate 37,366 kWh a year. Another 37 dams are under construction and expected to be complete by 2020 - 2021 with an installed capacity of 5,170 MW, generating 25,276 kWh a year.
There are plans to build a further 55 dams with 2,570 MW of installed capacity. Meanwhile, feasibility studies have been carried out on 282 hydro plants with planned 13,256 MW of installed capacity that would generate 52,000 kWh of electricity a year when built, the report said.