Recognizing declining reserves of non-renewable energy and the growing importance of clean energy, Laos has made significant strides in hydropower, helping transition away from dirty coal power plants. Still, hydro dams are drought-vulnerable and may cause negative impacts on vulnerable populations and the environment. Fully taking advantage of ample renewable energy resources requires solar power, offering lower emissions; energy security and independence through reduced energy imports; and less reliance on polluting power sources. Solar power also provides the flexibility and reliability for Laos to start exporting energy to neighboring countries.
But planning for solar power generation is no easy task, and Laos has traditionally built plants through a non-competitive approach with energy providers directly proposing projects. This has helped address some energy demand but provides the government with less control over power planning.
To overcome these challenges, USAID Clean Power Asia has worked with the Government of Laos since 2017 to embrace open, transparent, and best-value energy procurement practices through the country’s first-ever solar auction.