Vientiane (VNA) – Laos recently put the first of the four turbines of Don Sahong hydropower plant, one of the two projects the country is constructing in the mainstream of the Mekong River, into trial run.

Addressing the ceremony, Lao Minister of Energy and Mines Khammany Inthirath said that the test before the schedule is a great achievement of the country.

Under the plan, the Don Sahong hydropower project will become fully operational at the end of this year.

Launched in January 2016 in Siphandone area of Khong district, southern Champasak province in the shared border with Cambodia, the plant has a capacity of 260 MW.

It is built at a cost of 500 million USD, invested by Mega First Corporation Berhad from Malaysia and the State-owned EDL-Generation Public Company of Laos.

Once completed, the project is expected to ease power shortage in Laos’ southern localities, including the fast growing Champasak province.

Over the years, the hydropower sector of Laos has expanded strongly. In 2015, Laos had only nine hydropower plants with a total capacity of 680MW. The figures have now increased to 63 and 7,207 MW.

Currently, Laos is building 37 other projects with a combined capacity of 5,170MW, which are scheduled to be put in operation in 2020 and 2021.

Meanwhile, the Southeast Asian country has also planned to construct 55 additional plants with a total capacity of 2,570MW with an aim to turn the country into a “generator” of the region./.