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Development of the 728 MW Phou Ngoy scheme in Laos moves ahead

Doosan Heavy Industries & Construction, Korea, recently announced the signing of an MoU with Korea Western Power (KOWEPO) to cooperate on the joint development of the 728 MW Phou Ngoy hydropower plant on the Mekong, in southern Laos. The agreement is to involve the heavy industry arm of South Korea’s Doosan Group handling the supply of the main equipment and the construction work under an EPC contractStarting in January, Korea Western Power and Doosan is jointly conducting a site survey, after which basic engineering will be carried out. Construction of the project, formerly known as Lat Sua, will begin in 2022 and be completed by 2029.

The project, which is valued at about US$ 2.4 billion, is planned to be developed on a BOT basis by Charoen Energy and Water Asia (CEWA) of Thailand with KOWEPO and Korea Overseas Infrastructure & Urban Development Corporation (KIND). The project was initiated by CEWA, which signed a deal with the Lao Government, and since then, has been jointly executing the project with KOWEPO. A tri-party investment was agreed with KIND in August 2020. CEWA presented the results of the initial feasibility study and the environmental impact assessment of the proposed project to the Lao authorities in February 2020, but has to date not yet notified the Mekong River Com­mission about the project. This is a mandatory step for new Mekong river developments and would begin a six-month prior consultation process that would include an impact assessment for affected neighbouring countries. The studies showed that the Phou Ngoy scheme would affect more than 200 ha of land, home to 88 villages in seven districts. The most affected village would be Khon Ken, with a population of 811 people.

CEWA has completed designs for the dam, as well as the initial studies into the environmental and social impacts of the project, but details of construction costs and power purchase agreements have not yet been announced.

According to the plans, Phou Ngoy would be located in Champasak province, 10 km south of the provincial capital Pakse, and about 100 km north of the recently commissioned Don Sahong hydropower plant.

The project would be the sixth large-scale hydro project to be developed on the Mekong mainstream in Lao PDR, and the second to be co-developed by KOWEPO, which holds a 25 per cent stake in the 410 MW Xe-Pian Xe-Namnoy scheme.

Doosan also signed an MoU in November 2020 with Korea Midland Power to develop overseas hydropower markets jointly.

More details about features of the scheme, and the current status of the project, can be found in the News section of  Issue 1, 2021.