Abundant Renewable Energy Resources in Lao PDR: A Technical Potential Assessment for Utility-scale Electricity Generation

Published onMarch 28, 2018

To diversify Lao PDR’s energy portfolio, which historically prioritized investment in abundant hydropower resources and more recently in coal power, decision makers are exploring the role that renewable energy resources could play in their power system. To support energy planning activities, this work assesses the technical potential of domestic solar, wind, biomass, and coal resources for utility-scale electricity generation. The assessment 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) within the Smart Infrastructure for the Mekong program. The considered scenarios found abundant solar PV technical potential, ranging from 731–8,997 TWh/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 powerplants ranged from 1,685–45,957 km2 This picture of domestic energy resources may help actors 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