A ceremony was held in Thakhek, Khammouane province, on June 29 to commemorate the handover of the assets, built under the concession agreement between the government and NTPC. A total of over US$102m worth of roads, electricity transmission lines, and community facilities now belongs to various government agencies and the Lao public. The community assets include schools, health centres, agricultural facilities and water supply systems. Nam Theun 2 began commercial export of 1,000 MW of electricity in March 2010, and agreed an official commercial operations date of April 30 with its main customer, the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand.
Speaking at the ceremony, Jean-Christophe Philbé, Chairman of the NTPC Board of Directors, said that the 270 km of roads built by the project have already made a huge difference to peoples’ lives, linking Nakai district to the rest of Khammouane province and connecting its people to the rest of the nation. Mr Philbé said that the ability to access markets and services has delivered an instant leap in quality of life in the area.
Earlier in the day a symbolic handover was held at a 115/22 kV electricity substation in Gnommalath district. The substation and associated transmission lines have been handed over to Electricité du Laos to allow the national grid to receive the 70 MW of domestic power generated by Nam Theun 2. NTPC has also built a 22 kV distribution system bringing electricity to villages on the Nakai Plateau.
On symbolically receiving all the assets from NTPC, the Minister of Energy and Mines, Soulivong Daravong, called the Nam Theun 2 Project one of the Lao PDR’s development priorities, and said that in addition to huge financial benefits, the project also marked the beginning of rural development in the area. “Nam Theun 2 has enhanced public services and infrastructure, thereby improving livelihoods, creating permanent jobs, and raising the living standards of local people, which are becoming better and better every day,” said the minister.
Also at the event, the Deputy Governor of Khammouane province, Oday Soudaphone, described Nam Theun 2 as a multi-purpose project which is alleviating poverty among the people of Khammouane. He thanked NTPC for the facilities and promised that the provincial authority would actively manage and use the assets with maximum efficiency. Mr Oday added that Nam Theun 2 had already had a very positive effect on the whole country, as its development had “created the conditions and opportunity for the Lao PDR to attract foreign investment by providing a model for other projects to follow”.
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The Nam Theun 2 Power Company (NTPC) is the developer and operator of the Nam Theun 2 Hydroelectric Project in the Lao PDR. The Project is a public-private partnership designed to generate electricity for export to Thailand and domestic use in Laos. Revenues accruing to the Lao government during NTPC's concession period, estimated at over US$2 billion, are to be used to fund poverty alleviation in the country. Nam Theun 2 is structured as an industrial and a development Project, placing great emphasis on protection of the environment and sustainable social programmes to improve the livelihoods of people in the Project area. After 25 years of operation from 2010, the Project will be transferred to the Lao State. See www.namtheun2.com.