An Iconic Project for Laos
At the time of its inception, Nam Theun 2 was the largest infrastructure project that had ever been undertaken in the Lao PDR. Combining a challenging economic landscape in the southeast Asian region, the remote nature of the project site, the rigorous study of potential social and environmental impacts, the project developers have gone through great lengths before seeing their vision for a hydropower plant materialize.
A multipurpose project
With the prime objective being to generate electricity by capitalizing on the natural features of the Nakai plateau, the preliminary studies clearly indicated that this project would not only require engineers. Keeping the balance of the surrounding ecosystems, human activities and environmental harmony was also a key component on which the success of the project was highly depending on.
The involvement of international stakeholders such as the World Bank, Asian Development Bank and the Agence Française pour le Developement (AFD) as well as NGOs and other consultants allowed the project to enter into various consultations at different levels regarding community design, infrastructure and livelihood – thus elaborating a sound sustainable-development plan for the region.
Environmental and Social projects
The Nam Theun 2 project incorporated a multitude of environmental and social projects aimed at assisting and supporting those impacted by the project in matters such as health, education, housing and vocational training.
Infrastructures such as access to roads, electricity, access to clean water and healthcare have been provided to the communities upstream of the power station to accompany them in their new life.
Spanning over 4,000 square-kilometers upstream of the power plant, the Nakai Nam Theun National Park is one of the largest protected biodiversity area in Laos and the southeast Asia region.
The Watershed Management and Protection Authority (WMPA) receives 1.3 million US$ from the revenues of the hydropower project to manage its conservation efforts and towards the training of local forest rangers.
The Government of Laos has made substantial efforts to protect and preserve the watershed area, where the Nakai-Nam Theun National Park is located, through numerous decrees in 1993, 2001, 2017 and 2019.
To find out more of the Nam Theun 2 achievements, visit the World Bank’s article: Nam Theun 2: Powering the Next Generation