News 2012

Save energy and save the Mekong River


With its source in Tibet, the Mekong River runs through six Southeast Asian countries - China, Burma, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam. The Mekong River, already heavily dammed, is under a severe threat as the governments of several South East Asian countries are planning to build big hydropower dams on its lower mainstream.

Edward Allen, the Technical Programme Coordinator at the Lao Institute of Renewable Energy (LIRE) and Technical Advisor at Sunlabob, recently had an article about how saving energy in turn leads to pulling the Mekong River from the many challenges it faces, published in the Bangkok Post.

An extract from his article - “Electricity is vital for economic growth and it is vitally important for countries to have very reliable sources of high-quality power to drive their economies forward. But not all electricity has to be used in an inefficient way, and by getting serious about energy efficiency, the demand growth can be reduced. And this will mean that fewer dams are needed on the precious Mekong and its basin. Countries such as Thailand and Vietnam getting more strict about energy efficiency will better preserve the region's key river.
But for Laos alone, the energy efficiency gains are still potentially huge. Clean and intelligent use of energy efficiency measures would mean that less power is needed. Then either more power could be available to speed up the rate of rural electrification, or more power could be exported. And this power exported could help pay for the many schools, hospitals and clinics needed in Laos and help lift it even more quickly out of Least Developed Country (LDC) status.”

To read the Bangkok Post article, please click here.

To read his previous Bangkok Post article on how a quiet energy revolution is taking hold in Laos, please click here.