Abundant Renewable Energy Resources Exist in Lao PDR
April 18, 2018
A clearer picture of which renewable energy resources can benefit the Lao People’s Democratic Republic (Lao PDR) has emerged from a new report published by the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL).
Lao PDR has historically invested in its abundant hydropower resources and, more recently, in coal to ensure a secure, reliable, and affordable supply of energy and power economic development. This new report offers other potential sources for utility-scale electricity generation, assessing the technical potential of domestic solar, wind, and biomass. The report also explores site-feasibility for coal power plants.
This work is an output of the Energy Alternatives Study for the Lao PDR—a collaboration between the Lao Ministry of Energy and Mines and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The considered scenarios in this work found abundant solar PV technical potential, ranging from 731–8,997 terawatt hours (TWh) a year, and wind technical potential, ranging from 135–682 TWh/year. Biomass (logging and primary and secondary mill residues) technical potential was approximately 0.72 TWh/year. The total, feasible land area for siting of coal power plants ranged from 1,685–45,957 square kilometers.
This picture of domestic energy resources may help to set renewable energy targets; identify opportunities to meet growing domestic electricity demand; offset current electricity import trends; and position the country as an exporter of electricity.