In 2021, a substantial part of electricity consumption in Laos was derived from low-carbon energy sources accounting for approximately 73% of total consumption. The overwhelming majority of this, around 71%, was drawn from hydropower. Fossil energy, entirely from coal, constituted the rest of the power consumption, covering nearly 27%. Biofuels, another component of low-carbon energy source in Laos, contributed marginally, accounting for barely 1.5%.
To increase its low-carbon electricity generation, Laos can draw insights from countries with successful low-carbon energy programs. Despite the dominant role of hydropower in its energy matrix, the country could look at diversifying into other low-carbon sources like nuclear energy or wind power. Example countries similar to Laos in size or geographical conditions such as Slovakia and Denmark, have significantly high levels of nuclear and wind power respectively. Slovakia successfully utilizes nuclear power for 61% of its electricity generation while Denmark meets 59% of its electricity needs via wind power. Furthermore, nuclear energy has proved viable not just in developed economies like France (66%) and Switzerland (50%) but also in emerging ones like Ukraine (58%). By learning from these countries and implementing similar strategies, Laos can potentially heighten its low-carbon electricity production.
The history of low-carbon electricity in Laos has primarily been dominated by hydropower. In the early years of electricity generation in the late 1980s, the usage of hydropower experienced a slight dip, but it grew steadily by small increments from the 1990s to the early 2000s. However, the first decade of the 21st century experienced some fluctuations in hydropower use with minor periods of decrease in 2003, 2007, and 2009. Notably, a significant increase was observed in 2010 and 2011 with a surge in the usage of hydroelectricity. While the period of 2014 to 2015 witnessed a minor fall, this was rapidly offset by substantial growth in the following years, with an impressive leap in 2020. Biofuels made a small debut in the country's energy mix in 2018, contributing to the diversity of low-carbon electricity sources in Laos.