Nam Ngiep I Hydropower Dam, Lao PDR

The Nam Ngiep I Dam is a 290-MW hydropower facility which epitomizes the type of infrastructure project that the Asian Development Bank ensured would have pulled Lao PDR out of poverty.


Located on Nam Ngiep River in the central provinces of Bolikhamxay and Xaisomboun, Nam Ngiep I Dam is a 290-megawatt hydropower facility which epitomizes the type of infrastructure project that the Asian Development Bank (ADB) ensured would have pulled Laos out of poverty, but which ultimately came at an extremely heavy local, environmental and social cost.

See more...
Basic Data
NameNam Ngiep I Hydropower Dam, Lao PDR
CountryLao PDR
ProvinceBolikhamxay and Xaysomboun provinces
Accuracy of LocationMEDIUM regional level
Source of Conflict
Type of Conflict (1st level)Water Management
Type of Conflict (2nd level)Dams and water distribution conflicts
Land acquisition conflicts
Transport infrastructure networks (roads, railways, hydroways, canals and pipelines)
Specific CommoditiesWater
Project Details and Actors
Project DetailsThe 290 MW Nam Ngiep I Dam is being advanced by the Nam Ngiep 1 Power Company, a consortium comprised of Japan’s Kansai Electric Power Company (45%), Thailand’s EGAT International Company (30%) and the Lao Holding State Enterprise (25%). Over 90% of the power generated will be exported to Thailand.

The hydroelectric facility includes a dam measuring 148 m high and 530 m along the top and two power stations of 270MW (Main plant) and 20MW (Sub plant).

Over 90 per cent of the power generated will be exported to Thailand, while the remaining will be allocated to domestic consumption. The Nam Ngiep 1 Main Powerhouse, which can generate around 1,546 GWh per year, will export all its production to Thailand through a 230-kV transmission line to Nabong sub-station in Vientiane, from where it will be conveyed across the Mekong River to Thailand through a 500-kV line.
Project Area (in hectares)6,690
Level of Investment (in USD)900,000,000
Type of PopulationRural
Potential Affected PopulationAround 4,000 people
Start Date01/07/2014
Company Names or State EnterprisesNam Ngiep 1 Power Company (NN1PC) from Lao PDR - Project proponent
Kansai Electric Power Co (KEPCO) from Japan
Lao Holding State Enterprise (LHSE) from Lao PDR
Relevant government actorsGovernment of Lao PDR
International and Financial InstitutionsAsian Development Bank (ADB)
Japan Bank for International Corporation (JBIC) from Japan
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersa) International Rivers,

b) NGO Forum on ADB,

c) Mekong Watch,
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)LOW (some local organising)
When did the mobilization beginLATENT (no visible resistance)
Groups MobilizingInternational ejos
Local ejos
Around 4,000 people, mainly ethnic groups Hmong and Khmu will be affected.
Fisher people
Forms of MobilizationInvolvement of national and international NGOs
Objections to the EIA
Official complaint letters and petitions
Refusal of compensation
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Large-scale disturbance of hydro and geological systems, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity
Potential: Food insecurity (crop damage)
Health ImpactsVisible: Malnutrition, Occupational disease and accidents
Socio-economic ImpactsVisible: Displacement, Loss of livelihood, Land dispossession, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Project StatusUnder construction
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseMigration/displacement
Do you consider this as a success?No
Why? Explain briefly.The project is already 95% complete overall, and will be soon in operation.
Sources and Materials

[3] USAID (United States Agency for International Development), “Monitoring report – Laos – Nam Ngiep I Hydropower Project”, Report prepared by Ljohnston, USAID/E3, February 2017
[click to view]

[4] International Rivers & Mekong Watch, “Analysis of project 41924-014: Nam Ngiep 1 Hydropower Project, Lao PDR”, Official report, July 2014
[click to view]

[2] ADB (Asian Development Bank), “Lao People's Democratic Republic: Nam Ngiep 1 Hydropower Project”, Project Data Sheet
[click to view]

[5] See “Nam Theun 2 Hydropower Dam, Lao PDR”, (2015) included in the EJAtlas at:

[1] Mekong Watch & International Rivers, “ADB approves loan for dam in Laos despite key safeguard violations”, Position Statement by International Rivers and Mekong Watch, August 29, 2014
[click to view]

Meta Information
ContributorValeria Quartaroli
Last update16/10/2018