The population of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic (Laos) is approximately 7.53 million people. In 2020, 100 % of the people in this landlocked, Southeast Asian country had access to electricity.
In 2021, Laos’s economy was ranked 116th in gross domestic product (GDP) in the world. The country’s economy is based on the export of electricity, gold, rubber, refined cooper, copper ore, and cassava.
In 2016, Laos signed the Paris Climate Agreement, committing to policies and actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, all of which will require international support to implement.
Power Generation Capabilities
In 2020, the public utility, Électricité du Laos (EDL) used renewable energy (66.1 %) and coal (33.9 %) to generate electricity in Laos. Hydropower is the dominant type of renewable energy used to generate electricity in Laos.
Recent renewable energy projects in Laos include:
- 1,460 MW Hydropower Project – Laotian government and Petro Vietnam Power Corporation joint venture company, Luang Prabang Power Company Limited is continuing work on the Luang Prabang hydropower project in northern Laos. The project is forecast to be commissioned in 2027.
- 1,285 MW Hydropower Project – In November 2019, the Thailand’s CK Power Public Company Limited commissioned the Xayaburi hydropower project in northern Laos.
- 1,272 MW Hydropower Project – In September 2021, the People’s Republic of China company, Power Construction Corporation of China (PowerChina) commissioned the Nam Ou 2 hydropower plant in northern Laos.
- 728 MW Hydropower Project – Thailand’s Charoen Energy and Water Asia, PowerChina, South Korean Doosan Heavy Industries, and Korea Western Power are continuing work on the Phou Ngoy hydropower project in southwestern Laos. The project is forecast to be commissioned in 2029.
- 240 MW Floating Solar Project – French utility, EDF is continuing work on a floating solar project on the at the Nam Theun 2 Hydropower plant on the Nam Theun River in central Laos.
Laos exports electricity to neighboring countries, Thailand and Vietnam. In 2020, electricity was Laos; largest single export, generating U.S. $1.93 Billion for the nation.
Laos imports coal, oil, and refined petroleum for power generation and transportation. In 2020, Laos spent U.S. $527 Million just for imported refined petroleum.
On 24 February 2022, Russia invaded Ukraine, resulting in the United States, Canada, and the European Union placing embargos on Russian exports. The international price for crude oil has increased by over 50% from May 2021 to May 2022.
Laos has significant undeveloped renewable energy resources, including hydropower, solar, biomass, and wind. The nation is aggressively developing its vast hydropower resources to cut costly fossil fuel imports and to increase clean green power exports to neighboring countries.
Laos is becoming Asia’s future green energy hub.
Website – “Our Energy Conundrum”
Jack Kerfoot is a scientist, energy expert, and author of the book FUELING AMERICA, An Insider’s Journey and articles for The Hill, one of the largest independent political news sites in the United States. He has been interviewed on over 100 radio and television stations from New York City to Los Angeles on numerous energy related topics.
 World Bank, Access To Electricity (% Population) – Laos
 Gross Domestic Product By Country 2021 – Worldometer
 The Observatory of Economic Complexity (OEC) – Laos
 Our World In Data, Laos: Energy Country Profile by Hanna Ritchie and Max Roser
 U.S Energy Information Administration (EIA) – Paraguay
 The Observatory of Economic Complexity (OEC) – Laos Imports