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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs     4 November  2011

ADB supports Laos dam
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) will provide approximately US$465 million to support the construction of a 440-megawatt hydropower plant that will supply power to energy-hungry Thailand and provide much-needed revenue tofund poverty reduction programs in Laos.

"Earnings from clean energy exports are vital to poverty reduction efforts in landlocked Lao PDR, where one in every three people survive on less than $1.25 a day," said Christopher Thieme, Director in ADB's Private Sector Operations Department.

The plant, estimated to cost around $1 billion, will be built and operated for 27 years by the Nam Ngum 3 Power Company (NN3PC), which is owned by three private sector companies: Thailand's GMS Lao Company Ltd. and Ratchaburi Electricity Generating Holding Plc, together with Axia Power Holdings, a wholly owned subsidiary of Japan's Marubeni Corporation. The Government of Lao PDR will also hold a stake through the Lao Holding State Enterprises (LHSE).

ADB will lend up to $350 million to NN3PC. Thai banks and other international financial institutions will also provide loans to the project. ADB is also lending approximately $115 million to the Lao PDR government to finance LHSE's equity stake in NN3PC.

The new plant is expected to generate upwards of $770 million for Laos, of which more than $200 million is specifically earmarked for poverty reduction and environmental protection programs.

The public-private Nam Ngum 3 power plant, on the Nam Ngum River in northern Laos, will provide 2,072 gigawatt hours of clean energy annually for export to neighboring Thailand. Approximately half of Thailand's greenhouse gas emissions come from power generation, and most of its electricity is generated by power plants using fossil fuels, primarily natural gas.

"By using hydropower instead of fossil fuels, Thailand will avoid an average 1 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions every year - the equivalent of taking 175,000 vehicles off the road," said Anthony Jude, Director in ADB's Southeast Asia Department. The Nam Ngum 3 project will comprise a 220-metre-high dam that will create a 27.5 square kilometre reservoir.


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It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

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