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|17 March 2010
Laos hydropower plant to bring in $2bn in 25 years
The largest infrastructure project in Laos, the Nam Theun 2 hydropower facility, has started commercial operations, AFP quoted the power company as saying Wednesday.
Four turbines on Monday began supplying the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand with Nam Theun 2 hydropower facility 1,000 megawatts of power, Nam Theun 2 Power Company (NTPC) said in a statement.
Sales of electricity to the Laotian state utility, Electricite du Laos, have also begun, it said.
Thailand will buy about 95 percent of production from the plant in central Laos on the Nam Theun river, a tributary of the Mekong.
Laos is one of Asia's poorest nations but will earn royalties, dividends and taxes estimated at more than $2 billion over the 25 years the power company will own the project, NTPC said.
Communist Laos has pledged to spend revenues from the World Bank-backed project on poverty reduction.
More than 6,000 villagers were relocated to make way for the reservoir. After years of opposition from environmentalists, work on the 1.45-billion-dollar Lao-French-Thai dam began in November 2005.
It has a generating capacity of 1,070 megawatts. The plant was due to begin commercial operation on December 15 but the company said in October the opening would be delayed until early this year to allow further testing of the turbines.
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