Houaphanh power station

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Houaphanh power station is a power station in Houaphanh, Laos with multiple units of varying statuses none of which are currently operating. It is also known as 老挝华潘1×350兆瓦洁净高效电站; 华潘煤电一体化发电厂; Xam Neua power station; 华潘电站.


Table 1: Project-level location details

Plant name Location Coordinates (WGS 84)
Houaphanh power station Houaphanh, Laos 20.3333, 103.833 (approximate)

The map below shows the approximate location of the power station.

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Project Details

Table 2: Unit-level details

Unit name Status Fuel(s) Capacity (MW) Technology Start year Retired year
Unit 1 pre-permit coal - unknown 350 unknown 2026
Unit 2 shelved coal - unknown 300 unknown

Table 3: Unit-level ownership and operator details

Unit name Owner
Unit 1 China International Water & Electric Corp [100.0%]
Unit 2 China International Water & Electric Corp [100.0%]

Project-level coal details

  • Coal source(s): mine-mouth


The Houaphanh power station is also known as the Xam Neua power station.[1]

In December 2012, the Laos government signed a deal with China International Water & Electric Corporation (CWE) for the Houaphanh coal project: a coal mine with a production capacity of 1.5 million tons, equipped with a 2×300MW pithead thermal power plant. The geological exploration report was approved by the Mineral Resources Reserve Center of the Ministry of Land and Resources on August 14, 2015. The plan was expected to be under construction starting in 2016 and commissioned in 2020.[2]

In April 2016, it was reported that Long Van Limited Company of Vietnam signed a contract with authorities in Laos to search and mine for coal in the northeastern province of Huaphan, Laos. Long Van Limited Company said that an initial survey across an area of 600 hectares showed there was an estimated 60 million tonnes of coal, which would be used for a US$200 million power plant in Laos. The size of the coal plant was not stated.[3]

In May 2018, project sponsor China International Water & Electric Corporation went to inspect the site for the project.[4]

In 2019, another pre-feasibility study for the project was carried out. Participants included China International Engineering Consulting Co., China Water Resources and Electric Power Co., Shaanxi Coal Industry and Chemical Group Co., and Guangzhou Development Group Co.[5]

In October 2019, officials for the local government in the Houaphanh province said they wanted to cancel the survey contract after learning that the Chinese company's operations in the province had caused hardship for villagers who had yet to see any compensation. The company reportedly damaged eight hectares of rice fields, even causing a landslide as a result of digging survey tunnels. In 2018, villagers had also submitted complaints to the district and provincial authorities demanding solutions to the surveying destruction. A meeting with the company was held, but the problems had not been addressed.[6]

With no news on the project, the power station was presumed shelved.

However, in April 2022, North China Electric Power Design Institute, a subsidiary of China Energy Engineering Corporation, won a bid for engineering design and technical support on a 1 x 350 MW project. The project was planned for operation "within 4 years," meaning by 2026. The project was expected to use local coal, and pitched as a way to complement hydropower and thermal power, compensate for the power affected by the rainy and dry seasons, and improve reliability. At the same time, part of the project's power was planned to be sold to Vietnam.[7]

In August 2022, China International Water & Electric Corp appeared to transfer its majority stake in Houaphanh power station to Chonwa Financial Asset Exchange Co Ltd. The ownership structure was as follows: Chonwa Financial Asset Exchange Co Ltd. (75%), Electricite Du Laos (10%), Investment and Hydro Power Consultant Sole Co Ltd. (15%).[8]

In June 2023, there was no apparent update on the development of the power station.

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Additional data

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