On 16 February 2018, the Office of the Prime Minister of Lao PDR, submitted an official notification to several ministries of the Government of Lao (GoL) to take specific actions based on the research, findings and recommendations of the Natural Heritage Institute’s (NHI’s) Master Plan for Sustainable Hydropower Development of the Xe Kong Basin and its associated Implementation Plan.
The letter of notification was submitted to the following Ministries of the GoL:
- Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of the Ministry of Finance,
- Minister of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry,
- Minster of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment,
- Minister of Mines and Energy,
- Minister of Education, and
- Minister of Planning and Investment.
Among the directives ordered by the Prime Minister, using NHI’s Master Plan as a model, the relevant ministries will take a proactive role in developing comprehensive sustainable hydropower plans for reference of hydropower developers and ensuring that they strictly uphold laws and regulations, such as the Water Resource Law. The notification also agrees to move forward with the Master Plan’s recommendation for construction of a floating solar power facility on Xekaman 1 reservoir. This 290 MW facility is ideally suited for deployment of floating solar photovoltaic panels that would be fully integrated with the existing hydropower powerhouse and operated as single unit. By deferring mainstream hydropower development and utilizing a solar/hydro hybrid option, the last intact remnant of the Mekong River can remain open to preserve its biodiverse and highly productive fishery.
The Master Plan and Implementation Plan for Sustainable Hydropower Development of the Xe Kong Basin was submitted to the Gol by NHI at the end of January 2018. The five volumes can be downloaded here: