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Khounkham village in 1997 (above) and 2012 (below)


water releaseHydropower provides clean renewable energy that allows electricity grid operators to substantially improve the efficiency of their networks. The THPC Expansion provides a storage facility that stocks a natural resource (i.e. rain water) which is readily available for half the year, and then uses this to create electrical power during the dry season, when Laos is normally dependent on expensive imported electricity derived from polluting fossil fuels.

Hydroelectric plants with storage reservoirs provide power grid managers with greater operational flexibility than any other source of power. Since they can immediately respond to fluctuations in the demand for electricity, hydro plants provide fuel and power savings across whole grids. Hydro facilities have a much longer life span than conventional thermal power plants, feature a far higher ratio of conversion of force to electrical energy, and produce no chemical or waste heat pollution. A hydropower installation such as that at Theun-Hinboun also provides greater reliability than is generally found at most other renewable energy sources.

Like all large infrastructure projects, hydropower installations involve environmental and social trade-offs. Large areas of land are required and water sources are diverted, meaning that rapid changes are experienced in the project area and immediately downstream. THPC is dedicated to mitigating the consequences of these changes and invests heavily in social and environmental programs to improve the lives of local people and to protect biodiversity.

One-sixth (over 16%) of the energy produced worldwide is generated from hydropower. Hydropower is one of the most attractive energy carriers: it is low in emissions, infinite, eco-friendly and is economically viable, with the highest efficiency of all known kinds of energy generation. Today, hydropower is the only regenerative energy source to supply electricity on an industrial scale at competitive prices.