Thailand agrees to buy electricity from Laos, ignoring NGOs’ concerns

Thai power authorities have agreed after a long delay to buy electricity from three hydropower projects in Laos, pushing aside objections from Thai NGOs who say the dams’ operations will harm the ecosystem along the Mekong River.

The Nov. 5 decision by the Thai National Energy Policy Committee opens the way for the country to buy power from the Nam Gneum 3 Dam and from the China-backed Pak Beng Dam and Pak Lay Dam, both located 60-80 km (35-50 miles) from the Thai border.

Speaking to RFA on Tuesday, an official of the Lao Ministry of Energy and Mines called the decision “a step forward for Laos,” as the country had been trying for years to persuade Thailand to buy power from dams built by the one-party communist state either on the Mekong or on its tributaries.

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eported by RFA’s Lao Service. Translated by Max Avary. Written in English by Richard Finney.