Australia connects with Laos on energy ambitions

Australia's energy delegation at the Ministry of Energy and Mines in Laos
The energy delegation, including representatives from P4I and the Mekong-Australia Partnership, with Australian Ambassador to Laos, H.E. Paul Kelly, and Minister of Energy and Mines, Dr Daovong Phonekeo, in Vientiane, Laos

A team of energy experts from Partnerships for Infrastructure has met with Dr Daovong Phonekeo, Minister of Energy and Mines in Laos, to discuss energy sector priorities and potential areas of cooperation.

The Australian Ambassador to Laos, H.E. Paul Kelly, led discussions during the meeting, held at the Ministry for Energy and Mines (MEM) office in Vientiane on 5 May 2022. Representatives from P4I and the Mekong-Australia Partnership were also in attendance as part of an Australian energy delegation.

The Government of Laos is looking to integrate more renewable energy, particularly hydro and solar power, to improve its energy sector and drive a sustainable, inclusive economic recovery from COVID-19.  Initiatives like P4I and the Mekong-Australia Partnership are helping to shape the energy sector in Laos by harnessing global expertise and Australia’s experience with rapid energy transition.

The meeting with the Minister was scheduled as part of a P4I energy scoping mission to Laos between 4 and 13 May 2022. The purpose of the mission was to meet with key stakeholders to scope a longer-term program of engagement and support the Government of Lao PDR with its planned energy transition and sustainable development.

Meetings were held with different departments within the MEM and the Ministry of Planning and Investment. Discussions were also held with electricity operators and development partners working in the energy sector.

The energy scoping mission aimed to explore potential areas of support and expand collaboration between Australia and Lao PDR on sustainable economic and infrastructure development, and recognise energy’s central role in benefitting other sectors.

There is increasing interest in Australia's energy transition and expertise in Laos. The mission followed the introductory roundtable between the MEM and Australian Energy Regulator (AER) in January 2022, which was opened by Minister Daovong. The Minister had previously joined an energy delegation to Australia in 2019 and also presented during the 2nd Mekong-Australia Policy Dialogue on Energy and Electricity in December 2020.

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