It’s the most feared infrastructure project In the Greater Mekong Subregion. Not just by the 200,000 people directly impacted, and a coalition of local and international NGOs, but the governments of Vietnam and Cambodia, and the Mekong River Commission.
Nam Ngiep 1 dam is the second major Lao hydropower project conceived for the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (EGAT). EGAT’s first, Nam Thuen 2 has been riddled with social and environmental problems, and Nam Ngiep 1 is shaping up no differently.
The Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (EGAT) just began importing electricity from the newly completed Hongsa coal-fired power plant, just 30km into Laos. Adjacent mines feed the thermal plant with lignite, the dirtiest type of coal.
With a population of just over 200,000, Myeik is home to mostly fishermen and rubber and coconut plantation workers. The area, however, is not on Myanmar’s national power grid, a key motivation for the project.
It’s unprecedented: the largest industrial estate and deep sea port complex conceived in Southeast Asia. It’s controversial: trampling pristine shorelines; felling valuable forests and orchards; paving highways through remote mountain passes and uprooting ethnic minorities all along the way.