Hydropower Development

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With growing development and population increase in South-East Asia (SEA), demand for energy has increased greatly with an estimate of 7% per annum for the next twenty years (MRC, 2010). Hydropower has been identified as the solution to their energy woes and with the Mekong basin having an estimated hydropower potential of 60000 MW, it clearly represents a substantial and potentially lucrative source of energy for consumption and export. (Kuenzer, et al., 2012).

Laos is one country in which such hydropower developments can be seen. There are currently 60 dams planned or under construction including plans for nine mainstream dams. Hydropower development is heavily invested by Thailand with the Lao government committed to supplying
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Firstly, it shows that the environmental problems in the third world are not a reflection of policy or market failures but rather a manifestation of broader political and economic forces that transcend various scales. Secondly, it shows that the complexity of third-world environment factors are not easily solved using technical development approaches and that there is a need for far-reaching changes from local to global scales. In the following paragraphs, I will use political ecology to analyse political, economic and social factors to identify the winners and losers and how the abovementioned two points manifest in the water grabbing…show more content…
Hydropower is slated to replace natural gas (which contributes to 70% of electricity generation) and provide a clean source of renewable energy as well as to keep up with electricity demand for economic growth. Electricity generation and distribution is handled by the state owned EGAT (Electricity Generation Authority of Thailand) who has a monopoly on the energy market in Thailand (Matthews, 2012). Together with private actors such as investors and construction companies, these parties are attracted to the potential profits from hydropower development. To pursue their agenda for profit and development, they are pushing forward hydropower development in Laos. Likewise in Laos, hydropower is seen as a means to provide an affordable, reliable and sustainable source of electricity supply in the promotion of economic, infrastructural and social development as well as attracting investment into the country. From this, the projected billions of dollars in earned from hydropower have is postulated to provide a vital source of income to a poor country like

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