Work on controversial Laos dam proceeds

Reading Time: 2 minutes
Click to enlarge

The much-disputed Xayaburi Dam that straddles the Mekong River in Laos has been given a second life.

The $3.5 billion project was suspended last December after neighbours Cambodia and Vietnam protested that the 1,285-megawatt dam would disrupt migratory fish and affect millions of people in villages downstream. Members of the Mekong River Commission, comprising Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand, had agreed to invite the Japanese government and other international organisations to research the dam’s impact.

The dam would be the first such project on the main stream of the Mekong, and provide much-needed electricity to Laos, where a quarter of people live below the poverty line, many of which without access to electricity.

The dam was featured highly atop Hillary Clinton’s agenda when she made a historic visit to the small landlocked country in July.  The Lao government had officially announced the suspension of the project to fully determine environmental effects the same month.

However, this memo was apparently not sent to Ch. Karnchang Plc, the dam developer and Thailand’s third-largest contractor by market value.

“We’re still working on the project, as no one has told us to stop. We’ve not received formal notification from the Lao government to suspend our work,” Plew Trivisvavet, Chief Executive Officer at Thailand’s Ch Karnchang Pcl, told reporters recently.

The small communist country with its minuscule $6 billion economy places green energy prominently in its energy model.

The Xayaburi project is only the first of 11 projects in a master plan that envisions turning the lower Mekong into a powerhouse, generating 8 per cent of rising Southeast Asia’s power demand by 2025 (see map).

However, if the plan goes forward unchecked, the Mekong River Commission is predicting devastation for the region’s agriculture, a large contributor of the economy for lower Mekong countries.

The dams would convert up to 55 per cent of the river into reservoirs, creating an annual loss of $55 million in agricultural output and dramatically affecting the diets of Thailand and Cambodia, the Mekong River Commision suggests.

Do you like this post?
  • Fascinated
  • Happy
  • Sad
  • Angry
  • Bored
  • Afraid

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Click to enlarge

The much-disputed Xayaburi Dam that straddles the Mekong River in Laos has been given a second life.

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Click to enlarge

The much-disputed Xayaburi Dam that straddles the Mekong River in Laos has been given a second life.

The $3.5 billion project was suspended last December after neighbours Cambodia and Vietnam protested that the 1,285-megawatt dam would disrupt migratory fish and affect millions of people in villages downstream. Members of the Mekong River Commission, comprising Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand, had agreed to invite the Japanese government and other international organisations to research the dam’s impact.

The dam would be the first such project on the main stream of the Mekong, and provide much-needed electricity to Laos, where a quarter of people live below the poverty line, many of which without access to electricity.

The dam was featured highly atop Hillary Clinton’s agenda when she made a historic visit to the small landlocked country in July.  The Lao government had officially announced the suspension of the project to fully determine environmental effects the same month.

However, this memo was apparently not sent to Ch. Karnchang Plc, the dam developer and Thailand’s third-largest contractor by market value.

“We’re still working on the project, as no one has told us to stop. We’ve not received formal notification from the Lao government to suspend our work,” Plew Trivisvavet, Chief Executive Officer at Thailand’s Ch Karnchang Pcl, told reporters recently.

The small communist country with its minuscule $6 billion economy places green energy prominently in its energy model.

The Xayaburi project is only the first of 11 projects in a master plan that envisions turning the lower Mekong into a powerhouse, generating 8 per cent of rising Southeast Asia’s power demand by 2025 (see map).

However, if the plan goes forward unchecked, the Mekong River Commission is predicting devastation for the region’s agriculture, a large contributor of the economy for lower Mekong countries.

The dams would convert up to 55 per cent of the river into reservoirs, creating an annual loss of $55 million in agricultural output and dramatically affecting the diets of Thailand and Cambodia, the Mekong River Commision suggests.

Do you like this post?
  • Fascinated
  • Happy
  • Sad
  • Angry
  • Bored
  • Afraid