Thai investment in Laos hydropower reveals dire disconnect in the Mekong

Over the past year, the pace of hydropower development along the mainstream of the Mekong River in Laos has picked up, fuelled by long-term funding agreements. Chinese and Thai hydropower project investors have been signing Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs), which usually cover a 30-year period, with the governmental Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (EGAT).

Thailand is the largest investor in Laos’ power generation sector. In 2016, Thailand signed an agreement to purchase 9,000 megawatts (MW) of electricity from Laos over the following two decades, a figure that increased to 10,500 MW with the signing of another agreement in early 2022.

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Ming Li Yong