The government of Lao through its Department of Energy Management has now implemented regulatory instruments to strengthen dam safety measures for sustainable energy development.
World Bank provided support to the Ministry of Energy and Mines for Improving Hydropower Independent Power Producers (IPP) Process; Concession Agreement Management and Monitoring and the Implementation of Policy on Sustainable Hydropower Development. World Bank engaged Entura, one of the world’s most experienced specialist power and water consulting firms and the Asian Institute of Technology (AIT) through AIT Extension (AITE) to provide consultancy services.
Entura developed dam safety guidelines covering the eight module’s pertaining to Inspection, Instrumentation & Monitoring, Quality Control Procedures, Geotechnical Investigations, Emergency Action Plan, Impoundment, Documentation, and Training.
AIT assessed capacity development needs and developed capacity reinforcement plan for engineers and staff of the Department of Energy Management and Department of Energy Business to adopt dam safety guidelines and technical inspection manuals, and use them for IPP contract management and routine technical inspection of hydropower projects in Lao.
It was first time in four decades that Lao has regulation and technical guidelines to monitor construction and operation of hydropower projects.
According to Vientiane Times, The Energy Management Department Director General is hopeful “the guidelines may lead to the formation of a technical law on the development and construction of hydropower plants.”
Hydropower plants are important source of cost-effective energy. Laos is among the richest countries in south-east Asia in terms of hydropower resources. It currently exports an estimated two-thirds of its hydropower. Revenues from power exports make a significant contribution to economic growth and poverty alleviation in the country. Electricity accounts for roughly 30 percent of all Laotian exports.