Technical review of the Laos – Vietnam interconnector

DIgSILENT Pacific was engaged to identify options for an interconnector between Laos and Vietnam.  Laos has abundant water resources for hydro power, and is currently undergoing a phase of rapid development of its hydro generation. Hydro power is a major source of export earnings for Laos.

The installed generation capacity in Laos increased from 2550 MW in 2010 to 5800 MW by early 2016. Most of this generation (around 76%) is from Independent Power Producers with dedicated export contracts (IPPe).

Currently most of the power exported from Laos is imported into Thailand, to the west of Laos.  However, Vietnam, to the east of is in the process of introducing an electricity market, and there may be opportunities for Lao hydro to supply demand in Vietnam through a system-to-system interconnection. At present the only connections from Laos to Vietnam are from generators not connected to the Laos power grid.

Vietnam’s power system is in a phase of rapid demand growth with its maximum demand projected to grow from the current 25 GW to around 80 GW by 2030.  Therefore there are potential benefits to both countries to increase the power transfers between them.

DIgSILENT worked closely with power system experts in both Laos and Vietnam to develop cost-effective interconnection options that would allow power exports from Laos to Vietnam. Several visits were required to collect and collate data and establish the requirements of each party. The emphasis was on delivering a preferred technical option, which would then be subject to an economic assessment.

The project has attracted interest at government level. DIgSILENT recently presented the project outcomes to a special meeting between the Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister Trinh Dinh Dung and the Lao Deputy Minister of Energy and Mines Mr Viraphonh Viravong.

 

Figure 1 – Tim George from DIgSILENT Pacific meeting with representatives of the Laos power authority and World Bank.
 

Figure 2 – DIgSILENT Pacific met with representatives from the EVN power authority in Vietnam.