What measures has the Hongsa Power Plant project taken, to ensure that
environmental practices are implemented efficiently to yield desirable
results as stipulated in the concession contract?
The supervision structure for the project’s environmental practices is very
rigorous and strict. The Government of Lao set up the Environmental
Management Unit (EMU) to specifically supervise the project’s environmental
performance, with on-site officers to undertake inspection of all environmental
activities and, on a monthly basis, report to their supervisors – both at the district
and central levels. The EMU’s Joint Steering Committee (JSC) – with Minister of
Energy and Mining as chairperson; as well as Deputy Minister of Natural
Resource and Environment, and Governor of Sayaboury Province as vice
chairpersons – closely monitors the progress, and regularly holds conferences to
not only review and solve problems, but also provide suggestions for
compliance. Therefore, the project’s environmental practices are guaranteed to
be compliant of the standards specified by European consultants in the
How much confidence does HPC have in the Hongsa Power Plant project
that it will not pose any adverse impact on the environment and the
community, as in the case of Mae Moh Power Plant?
HPC is convinced that the Hongsa Power Plant project will be able to fully comply
with social and environmental conditions stated in the Concession Agreement. The Company has conducted research on fuel, as basis for the design of the Power
Plant and the adoption of technology, to prevent negative impact at the source. In
addition, we have clearly established preventive and corrective guidelines, which
were approved by European experts serving as consultants of the Government of
What types of pollution control equipment are installed in the Hongsa Power Plant?
Pollution control equipment installed in the Power Plant include:
Flue Gas Desulfurization (FGD), which can effectively remove 92% of sulfur
dioxide from the power production process. Owing it to the fact that the coal in
Hongsa district has very low sulfur content (0.7%), the coal combustion
releases much less sulfur dioxide.
Electrostatic Static Precipitator, which can remove up to 99.83% of dust
particles from the power production process. This equipment helps reduce air
pollution to the lowest possible level that causes no harm to the environment
and living beings, both in the project area and nearby – including the area in
24-hour air quality measurement and monitoring system, consisting of
the Continuous Emission Monitoring System (CEMS) and three stations of Air
Quality Monitoring System (AQMS) that are linked directly to the Power Plant’s
Since the Hongsa Power Plant uses “lignite” – a low-quality coal – as fuel,
what assurance is there, that there will be no adverse impact on the environment and surrounding communities – including the Thai community in Nan province?
“Lignite” is classified as a “low”-quality coal, as it has lower heat content than
bituminous and anthracite coal. However, this doesn’t mean that lignite is low in
all aspects of quality. Conversely, while the lignite coal in other
areas could have sulfur content as high as up to 2-3 weight percent; the lignite coal in Hongsa district is found to have low sulfur content of only around 0.6-0.7 weight percent – even lower than that of imported coal from Indonesia and Australia.
Power generating machinery used in the Hongsa Power Plant is of state-of-the- art technology, and environmentally friendly. Research on fuel characteristics relating to waste from the power generating process, and the waste amount specified in the Concession Agreement, are taken into account as conditions for the design of the Power Plant since the very beginning. Thus, the waste management system and technology, as well as the waste monitoring system can be ensured of optimal efficiency in line with the specified requirements. However, in the test run, if the machinery fails to achieve required standards, the Government of Lao will not allow the machinery operations until appropriate
corrective actions are implemented.
In terms of environmental impact study and assessment, what does the Hongsa Power Plant project have to carry out?
The Hongsa Power Plant project has to develop Environmental Management Plans (EMPs), and keep updating them in accordance with the changing operational activities. In the construction phase, the Construction Phase Environmental Management and Monitoring Plan (CPEMMP) has to be revised and updated every two years. In the operations phase, the Operation Phase Environmental Management and Monitoring Plan (OPEMMP) has to be revised and updated every five years; in addition, the Mine Rehabilitation and Closure Plan also has to be prepared. All the revised plans have to be proposed to the Government of Lao’s Ministry of Natural Resource and Environment (MONRE) for approval.