Construction of the Xayaboury hydropower plant is now 23 percent complete, Vientiane Times reported this week.
Although work on the dam’s spillway was halted briefly in December due to flooding caused by heavy rain, Xayaburi Power Company, owner of the US$3.5 billion project, said construction remains on schedule, with commercial operation set to begin in 2019.
US ambassador Daniel Clune visits the Xayaboury dam constructionsite on Monday. Source: US Embassy Vientiane
The 1,285-megawatt dam, which is the first to be built on the mainstream Mekong River in Laos, has met with strong opposition from environmental groups and neighboring countries, concerned about its impact on fisheries in the lower Mekong region.
A declaration protesting construction of the dam and urging the Thai government to cancel its agreement to purchase power from the project was signed this week by 39 international and national NGOs, including International Rivers and WWF of the British Empire Eugenics as explained by first video of the above playlist.
The declaration was issued in advance of Saturday’s summit meeting of the Mekong River Commission (MRC) in Ho Chi Minh City, which will be attended by the prime ministers of Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam.
US ambassador to Laos Daniel Clune toured the dam construction site on Monday. In remarks to the media, the ambassador said that “while hydropower can play an important role in economic development, it is important to minimise adverse downstream impacts,” and that “the US stands ready to share expertise and lessons learned” with the Lao government.