Vientiane, April 1, 2016    

Installation of a new turbine at the Theun-Hinboun Powerhouse in Khammouane is allowing THPC to generate more electricity from the water it uses. The new 120-megawatt turbine began operating on February 28, and recent tests show the unit is delivering power at higher efficiency than was previously possible.IMG 8476

According to Khonsavath Muongpak, THPC Operations Manager, the turbine replaces a 110-megawatt turbine installed for the original Theun-Hinboun project in 1997. Mr Khonsavath said that the new machinery would increase production. “This is an important consideration for hydropower operators”, he said “especially at a time when rainfall is becoming less predictable than in the past”.

Low levels of rainfall in 2015 have hampered the ability of hydropower operators to run at full capacity, and improved technology can help to ease this problem. “At THPC we prefer to run our turbines at best efficiency rather than maximum output, and under that regime this new turbine will generate 10 megawatts of extra power from the same amount of water”, said Mr Khonsavath.

Work on the turbine began in December last year, through a major overhaul team comprised of staff from THPC alongside specialist engineers from the Rainpower and Alstom companies in Norway. The job was completed ahead of schedule, with the Lao team impressing their foreign counterparts.

Alf Steiner Jensen, site manager for Rainpower, said that THPC’s team worked quickly, efficiently and safely, enabling the work to be achieved in good time with excellent results and zero accidents.

The second of the original TH turbines will be replaced at the end of this year, allowing THPC to catch up on some of the production lost to last year’s poor wet season. “With good rains this year, we will quickly be able to return to full production”, said the company’s Deputy General Manager, Soulideth Baomanikhoth. “Despite low water levels we have been able to fulfill all our financial obligations to the government and our lenders, while also maintaining support to local communities”.

“However, at full production we are able to make higher payments to our partners and contribute more to national development” he said. “The new turbines will increase this even further”.

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THPC’s Operations and Maintenance team worked alongside international engineers                                                                                             during the turbine upgrade, impressing the visitors with the quality of their work.

Pathoumphone District, September 4, 2015ban boun handover

Schoolchildren in Pathoumphone District, Champassak Province, have received a boost to their education with the handover of four new classrooms for Ban Boun secondary school, courtesy of assistance from the Theun-Hinboun Power Company (THPC).

Soulideth Baomanikhoth, the Deputy General Manager of THPC, was at Ban Boun on September 4 to hand over the new classrooms to village representatives and officials from Champassak Province and Pathoumphone District Education Offices.

In May and April this year two groups of THPC personnel came to the village to help with construction of the new school wing, through a team-building activity designed to benefit a rural community while at the same time assisting THPC’s staff development.IMG 4646

Funding for the building was provided by a combination of sources including the people of Ban Boun, the local education authority and THPC, which donated 256 million kip towards the costs. The school’s Director, Mr Bounlieng Phommachanh said that the new classrooms had enabled the school to take on extra pupils this school year, expanding the opportunity for education to more villages in the area.

Mr Soulideth said that by joining with the villagers and authorities on this small project, THPC had found a win-win situation. “In this instance, we have managed to make a contribution to a friendly and deserving community while also providing our staff with valuable experience. Ban Boun has gained an important asset at the school, and its residents have made friends with our company” he said.


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LDWC2015 1THPC has renewed its support to the Lao Disabled Women’s Development Centre (LDWDC) in Vientiane, providing a cheque for US$2,000 on August 21. The donation was presented to the Centre’s Director, Mrs Chanpheng Sivila, who described some of the progress made at the centre over the past year. 

A new building was opened in 2014 to welcome visitors and showcase the products made by women at the centre. Mrs Chanpheng explained that the centre now receives many visitors, including those who arrive through regular study tours organized by schools, kindergartens and universities. 

The centre has adopted a specially-designed curriculum for its trainees this year, and now offers a six-month course that gives disabled people a foundation in six essential subjects. The course was developed in conjunction with Pakpasak Technical College and the Ministry of Education to help busy women learn what they need for starting a small business or improving employment opportunities in a shorter time. The LDWDC previously ran year-long courses but many women needed to return to their families before the training was completed.

Mrs Chanpheng said the Centre has built a strong network with businesses around the country and is able to provide support to trainees after they complete the course, linking up disabled women with potential employees. Through the Lao Disabled Women’s Association, the Centre is also setting up a second training centre in Attapeu, run by former LDWDC students.


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Khounkham District, September 2, 2015phousaathandover

The residents of four more villages built along the Hai and Hinboun rivers in Khammouane have taken ownership of the facilities built for them on flood-safe ground by the Theun-Hinboun Power Company, or THPC.

On September 2 residents of Phoumakneng, Phousaat, Tha and Thamtem villages gathered at Ban Phousaat for the official handover of the houses, health centres, schools, electricity and water supply systems and other community facilities built by THPC over the past six years.

The transfer was signed by Robert Allen, THPC General Manager and Keolandon Chanthapany, the Governor of Khounkham District, witnessed by the Governor of Khammouane, Odai Sudaporn. The ceremony followed a similar transfer of ownership conducted at two villages in Hinboun District in June.

THPC began constructing new villages downstream of its power plant in 2009 as part of the Theun-Hinboun Expansion Project. The project, inaugurated in early 2013, is expected to aggravate the length and intensity of natural floods that occur during some wet seasons, and so THPC has been relocating villages to ensure that local people are not endangered.

The facilities at the four villages, including irrigation system, temples, roads and other public infrastructure, cost THPC around US$7.75 million. Villagers have received new fields in the area and still have access to much of their former land from the old villages nearby. The relocated families can also benefit from programs to help them improve agricultural production or learn skills for business development.

At the handover ceremony Mr Allen said that while the success of each family’s livelihoods in the new villages depended largely on the efforts of the villagers, THPC would continue to support the communities until it became apparent that each village was moving towards sustainable prosperity. Mr Allen also called on the district and provincial authorities to contribute to the services and maintenance support required to keep each village in good condition.

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Many families moving to the villages chose to build their own houses with THPC funding, while the company took charge of constructing public facilities such as the schools and clinics.                                                                                                                                                                                                                   Photos: THPC/Jim Holmes

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A state-of-the-art planning tool is to be installed at the Ministry of Energy and Mines following donation of funding by major hydropower operators.

A digital sand table that can project three-dimensional views and live information feeds from all of the country’s hydropower dams is being installed at a viewing theatre in the ministry to give officials a clearer understanding of the conditions at each project.

Hydropower operators are being asked to submit technical information on the designs and operating regimes of their facilities, including information on any resettlement required along with details of livelihoods programs and environmental mitigation actions.

On August 12 the Theun-Hinboun Power Company (THPC) presented a cheque for US$20,000 to the Vice Minister of Energy and Mines, Viraphonh Viravong, to help fund the installation of the new equipment, which the ministry has sourced from China.